Data migration: Data engineering with Strypes

A quick guide to data migration

Ever feel overwhelmed during a move? You’re not alone. Stacks of boxes reaching the ceiling, furniture Tetris in the living room – it can be a logistical nightmare!

Data migration can be similar but for your company data. Imagine all your company information – customer records, financial data, project documents – crammed into an old filing cabinet system. Data migration is the process of packing up that information, moving it to a new place, like a modern cloud storage system, and unpacking it in a well-organized way.

Just like a physical move, data migration requires careful planning to avoid disruptions. You might need to sort through your data, adjust formats, and even ditch some outdated files along the way. But in the end, you’ll have a fresh start, with your data readily accessible and ready to work for you.

In this article, we’ll explore the different types of data migration, dive into the magic of data mapping, and guide you through essential best practices – from planning and data cleansing to the migration itself.

What is data migration?

There are four main types of data migration, each suited for a specific scenario:

Storage migration

As the name suggests, this involves moving data from one storage device to another. This could be from an older hard drive to a newer solid-state drive (SSD), from tapes to discs, or even migrating data to the cloud.

For example, a company might migrate its customer database from an on-premises hard disk drive (HDD) to a cloud-based storage service to improve query speeds and data availability for its customer service representatives.

Database migration

This is the process of moving data from one database management system (DBMS) to another. This could be because you’re upgrading to a newer version of the same software, or switching to a completely different database system altogether.

A company might migrate its financial data from an older Oracle database to a newer MySQL database to take advantage of MySQL’s scalability and open-source licensing model. That’s because newer database systems often offer new features and functionality that can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your data management. Additionally, migrating to a more secure database system can help to protect your data from unauthorized access.

Application migration

This type of migration involves moving data and functionality from one application to another. Application migration is typically done when an organization switches to another vendor, application, or platform.

For instance, a company might migrate its customer relationship management (CRM) system from a legacy on-premises application to a cloud-based CRM system to improve accessibility for its sales team and provide a more modern user experience for its customers.

Cloud migration

This is the process of moving data and applications to the cloud. Cloud migration can be a complex undertaking, but it can offer several benefits, such as increased scalability, flexibility, and security.

Cloud storage can be easily scaled up or down to meet the needs of your business, helping you avoid the upfront costs of purchasing and maintaining your own hardware. For example, a company seeking a more scalable and flexible IT environment might migrate its entire IT infrastructure to the cloud, including its email, file servers, and web applications.


Data migration to the cloud

Businesses today manage ever-increasing volumes of data. Extracting the most value from this data is crucial for success. A big part of this is storing it efficiently and ensuring easy access.

As a result, many organizations are turning to the cloud to host their applications and data as It offers a potentially cost-effective and high-performing environment. A key part of this transition is selecting the right data migration strategy. There are two main approaches to consider:

  • Online migration: This method transfers data over an internet or a private WAN connection.
  • Offline migration: Data is transferred on a physical storage device, like a large USB drive, and shipped directly to the cloud provider.

The best approach depends on the amount of data, the urgency of the migration, the type of data involved, and your security requirements.

The importance of data mapping

Data mapping acts like a translator during the data migration process. Let’s imagine for a second that you’re planning to migrate your data to the cloud. Both your on-premises system and the cloud will have their own way of storing and organizing data. Data mapping ensures that everything gets transferred correctly by:

  • Matching fields: Imagine your on-premises system stores customer names in a field called “Full Name”, while the cloud service uses “First Name” and “Last Name” as separate fields. Data mapping would identify this difference and ensure both “First Name” and “Last Name” in the cloud are populated with the corresponding data from the “Full Name” field during migration.
  • Standardizing formats: Data mapping can address situations where dates and other important information might be stored differently. For example, your local system might use the “MM/DD/YYYY” format, while the cloud uses “YYYY-MM-DD”. Data mapping would convert the dates in your on-premises system to the format expected by the cloud storage.

Data migration: 6 best practices

When you’re packing boxes for your big move, you wouldn’t just throw everything in carelessly. You need to know what you’re bringing, why you need it, and the best way to transport it. The same goes for a successful data migration project. Here are some best practices to ensure a stress-free move from start to finish:

1. Know what data you’re moving and why

Before you flick the migration switch, take a deep dive into your data landscape. Don’t just understand what data you’re moving (e.g. customer records, financial data, marketing metrics), but also why it’s important. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Who uses the data now, and who will use it in the future? Understanding data usage across departments helps determine storage and formatting needs in your new system.
  • How will this data be used? Data for analytics has different requirements than data for regulatory compliance.

2. Map your migration journey

With a clear understanding of your data, it’s time to map its migration journey. This includes:

  • Identifying the data: Pinpoint exactly what data needs to move, considering its origin, format, and volume.
  • Understanding the target system: Is it a cloud platform or a revamped on-premises solution? Knowing its capabilities will ensure a seamless transition.
  • Choosing the migration strategy: Will it be a big bang or a staged rollout? The answer to this question usually depends on the complexity of your data, available resources, and risk tolerance.

3. Clean your data before migration

Just like you wouldn’t want to bring unnecessary clutter to your new house, don’t migrate outdated or irrelevant data. Analyze your data to identify duplicates, errors, and inconsistencies. This helps to ensure accuracy and optimize storage space in the new system.

4. Always backup your data

While it might sound obvious, backing up your data before a big migration can give you peace of mind. If something goes wrong, you can easily restore your data from the backup and minimize downtime.

5. Run smaller test migrations

Even if you’re planning to do your data migration in one go, it’s wise to run test migrations on a smaller subset. This helps you identify and fix technical glitches before hitting the big red “go” button. Testing beforehand also allows you to validate data integrity, ensuring that your data arrives at its destination accurately and completely.

6. Audit and document the entire process

A well-documented migration process is a valuable asset. During the audit, you can identify any errors or inconsistencies that may have occurred during the migration. This allows you to fix these problems before they impact your day-to-day business operations.

Additionally, by documenting the entire process, you create a roadmap for future data migrations. This can save time and resources by providing a clear understanding of what worked well and what needs improvement.

Conclusion: Run your data migration project with Strypes

Data migration can be a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. By partnering with Strypes, you can leverage our expertise to ensure a smooth and successful data migration project from start to finish.

As an end-to-end service provider, our team of data engineers will work closely with you to understand your specific needs and develop a tailor-made data migration plan. Whether you’re looking to migrate a small data project or a large enterprise dataset, Strypes can help you achieve your goals.

Contact us today to learn more about our data engineering services.

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