Database Migration – What It Is, Understanding Needs, and Challenges.
What is database migration?
Database migration, in simple words, means moving data from one platform to another. Otherwise, it is a complex, multi phase process, which usually includes assessment, database schema conversion (if you are changing engines), script conversion, data migration, functional testing, performance tuning, and many other steps.
With the rise in popularity of Git, the trend of writing web-based applications using object-relational mapping (ORM) libraries also became well-known. The main objective was: if developers can make changes in code that are easy to roll back using Git, they could also be able to do the same things when it comes to schema changes.
Well, any new feature involves code and schema changes. Therefore, many popular frameworks added ORM and database migration (also known as schema migration or DB migration) as part of their offerings.
But, database migration is a concept that is not restricted to popular web frameworks. In order to ease the process of database migration, there are many standalone libraries available.
Let me tell you database migration involves a lot of effort. Performing database migration might seem to be a challenging task for many. And, it is indeed!
What is the need for Database Migration?
The competitive world has given organizations some of the obvious reasons to adopt new technologies. These include speed of doing things, improvisation of overall performance, etc. Now you know what is database migration, it’s time to know reasons for performing database migration. Let’s have a look at them.
1. To Save expenses:
Using old databases might add overhead expenses to the company. Like installing other applications or systems to work in a quick manner. They will move their database to a platform that will serve their purpose in an efficient manner. This will help in saving on infrastructure as well as manpower and expertise needed to support it.
2. Upgrade to new technology
This is a very common reason for migration, where the company would shift from either an outdated system or a legacy one to a system that is designed for the current day data needs.
In this era of big data, adopting new and efficient storage techniques is a necessity. For instance, a company might choose to move from a legacy SQL database to a data lake or any other flexible system.
3. To Reduce Redundancy
Data migration is an essential thing for the companies in order to move all the company data to a single place. This will help in minimizing redundant data. Also, the data stored in one place can be easily accessible by all the divisions of the company.
Sometimes, this happens after acquisition when the systems need to be combined. It can also happen when different systems are siloed throughout a company.
For instance, different departments have different databases and there is no sync between them. It becomes really difficult to gain insights from your data when you have different databases that are incompatible.
4. Security Fixes:
As per the research, it is found that the databases are one of the most vulnerable entities to cyberattacks. This is because they are the easiest to get into through networks. Most of the organizations fail to upgrade their databases regularly as they do other systems. This eventually leaves a wide gap for the hackers to enter and reveal or steal information.
Challenges in database migration
Since database migration is a very complex task, it is obvious to face different challenges during the process. Many of us might be aware of the challenges involved in the process, but very few might know how to overcome those. Some of the common challenges are as follows:
How does database migration work? (Database migration steps)
If you are planning to migrate your database, then you should gather all the information required to successfully complete the project. I have segmented the database migration steps into three,
- Pre-migration steps
These steps should be taken before actually migrating the database, which will include the basic planning, structuring, understanding the requirements, and finalizing the move.
- Migration Steps
These are the steps that are to be taken while implementing database migration. These steps should be accomplished with proper accountability taking utmost care about data governance roles, risks related to migration, etc.
- Post-migration steps
Once database migration is complete, there might be some issues that would have gone unnoticed during the process. These steps would be necessarily taken to ensure that the migration process gets over in an error-free manner.
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