Big data is what drives most modern businesses, and big data never sleeps. That means data integration and data migration need to be well-established, seamless processes — whether data is migrating from inputs to a data lake, from one repository to another, from a data warehouse to a data mart, or in or through the cloud. Without a competent data migration plan, businesses can run over budget, end up with overwhelming data processes, or find that their data operations are functioning below expectations.

What is Data Migration?

Data migration is the process of moving data from one system to another. While this might seem pretty straightforward, it involves a change in storage and database or application.

In the context of the extract/transform/load (ETL) process, any data migration will involve at least the transform and load steps. This means that extracted data needs to go through a series of functions in preparation, after which it can be loaded in to a target location.

Organizations undertake data migrations for a number of reasons. They might need to overhaul an entire system, upgrade databases, establish a new data warehouse, or merge new data from an acquisition or other source. Data migration is also necessary when deploying another system that sits alongside existing applications.

Why a Data Migration Strategy is Important

Regardless of the exact purpose for a data migration, the goal is generally to enhance performance and competitiveness.

But you have to get it right.

Less successful migrations can result in inaccurate data that contains redundancies and unknowns. This can happen even when source data is fully usable and adequate. Further, any issues that did exist in the source data can be amplified when it’s brought into a new, more sophisticated system.

A complete data migration strategy prevents a subpar experience that ends up creating more problems than it solves. Aside from missing deadlines and exceeding budgets, incomplete plans can cause migration projects to fail altogether. In planning and strategizing the work, teams need to give migrations their full attention, rather than making them subordinate to another project with a large scope.

A strategic data migration plan should include consideration of these critical factors:

  • Knowing the data — Before migration, source data needs to undergo a complete audit. Unexpected issues can surface if this step is ignored.
  • Cleanup — Once you identify any issues with your source data, they must be resolved. This may require additional software tools and third-party resources because of the scale of the work.
  • Maintenance and protection — Data undergoes degradation after a period of time, making it unreliable. This means there must be controls in place to maintain data quality.
  • Governance — Tracking and reporting on data quality is important because it enables a better understanding of data integrity. The processes and tools used to produce this information should be highly usable and automate functions where possible.

In addition to a structured, step-by-step procedure, a data migration plan should include a process for bringing on the right software and tools for the project.

In the past, data architects were tasked with deploying sizeable server farms on-premises to keep data within the organization’s physical resources. Part of the reason for pushing ahead with on-site servers had been a concern for security on the cloud. However, as major platforms adopt security practices putting them on par with traditional IT security (and necessarily in compliance with the GDPR), this barrier to migration has largely been overcome.

The right cloud integration tools help customers accelerate cloud data migration projects with a highly scalable and secure cloud integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS). Talend’s suite of open-source, cloud-native data integration tools enable drag-and-drop functionality to simplify complex mapping, and our open-source foundations make our solution cost-effective and efficient.

Getting Started with Data Migration

If your organization is upgrading systems, moving to the cloud, or consolidating data, a data migration is on the horizon. It’s a big and important project, and the integrity of the data demands that it gets done right.

Talend’s platform includes free, open-source data tools that can streamline every step in the data migration process, from Data Preparation, to Integration, to continued Data Streaming. Kickstart your data migration process by exploring the software that can help you get it done. Try Talend Data Fabric today.