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Why is Database Migration so Complex?

In an ideal world, an IT department could move an enterprise’s entire digital infrastructure to the cloud with a few keystrokes. Unfortunately, this futuristic expectation is not the reality we live in yet. In fact, the same complexities that result in a database being at the core of every enterprise’s day to day operations make them more difficult to move without careful planning. This also adds in a layer of inherent danger when considering database migration to the cloud or from one cloud-based environment to another. Here are four common challenges faced in data migration projects, and of course how to avoid them:

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Challenge #1 - Lack of Visibility Into Legacy Data Lineage

When it comes to migrating a database to the cloud its important for businesses to realize that this means everything it is connected to, whether in a push or pull format, is going to be migrated along with it. The first step to a data migration project is just that, excepting the necessity of moving it all. This ties back into a common mistake business fall into when it comes to technology, incomplete or inaccurate documentation. Depending on the complexity of your database, it may push to and pull from a larger number of resources both local and remote. Before beginning the plan for a cloud migration process, you’ll need to ensure all of your current documentation is accurate and up to date.

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2) Sacrificing Accuracy for Speed

Businesses need to ensure that they vetted and compared all cloud service providers to find the right one for their needs. Similarly, the way in which your existing data gets moved needs to be considered and evaluated just as deeply. For example, the way in which data is moved to the cloud is often simplified by the individual experiences of people. We can all think back to our first personal cloud storage solution, dragging and dropping a folder and in a few minutes, we had a cloud backup system! Sadly, the transfer rates aren’t quite this phenomenal when it comes to moving multiple terabytes as opposed to a few megabytes. This means your business may need to consider a scaffolded approach for migration, a copying and transferring approach, or even vendor provided replication of database functionality.

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3) Not Allocating Enough Time Towards Testing

We’ve all come across a situation where we changed something seemingly small, and all of a sudden, we can’t do what we need to. Businesses need to plan for an allocate the needed funds for the testing phase of database migration. Depending on the number of licenses your company has for a given software, this may mean working with the vendor ahead of time to get an additional temporary license to utilize in the sandbox for testing. Depending on how many dependent software programs your company has relying on your database and vice versa, this can mean a lot of planning.

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4) Not Planning for Unexpected Challenges

Lastly, always plan for the unexpected. When you begin the process of migrating your database there is always a chance for huge challenges and interruptions to service. You’ll want to ensure you have treated this potential outcome as an expected part of the migration process. With a strong backup plan in place your company can be pleasantly surprised as opposed to caught off guard if something bad does happen.

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