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The Best Strategies for Cloud Data Migration

If you’re considering a migration to a cloud environment – well, you’re in good company. Experts estimate that 90% of companies use a cloud-based environment in some capacity, and Cisco predicts that cloud data centers will process 94% of all workloads in 2021.

The cloud will power businesses through the next decade. Is your business ready?

At StarQuest, we’re here to help. With StarQuest Data Replicator (SQDR), the process of replicating to the cloud isn’t all that different than on-premises replication. Based on our extensive experience helping enterprises make the migration, here are a few things you should keep in mind as you consider the cloud.

Why migrate to the cloud?

First, what’s your rationale for migrating to the cloud?

There are three common reasons to migrate:

Scalability. Because cloud environments are decentralized, they make adding resources easy. If you anticipate needing to increase your resources in the future, a cloud-based environment is a great option.

Accessibility. On-premise environments are most easily accessed, unsurprisingly, on location. Cloud environments are hugely useful in the age of remote work.

Cost-efficiency. Cloud environments are usually (although not always) more cost-efficient.

Yes, there are other benefits, too, but if you’re considering migrating your data to the cloud, these are some of the biggest reasons to make the switch.

What are the best strategies for cloud data migration?

If you’re ready to move ahead with a cloud data migration, you’ll need to move forward strategically in order to ensure a successful transition. Here’s the approach you should take.

1. Evaluate cloud environments.

First, comprehensively evaluate the potential destination environment. Ask questions like:

  • How will data be formatted in the new cloud environment?
  • What will the new solution cost?
  • What integrations will need to be put in place for data to be used in business applications?
  • How can the new environment support them?

Whether you choose AWS, Azure, Oracle, or anything else, you’ll want to carefully define your use case and expectations before you begin the migration.

2. Design the migration process.

With your options evaluated, necessary objects identified, and, hopefully, a migration tool selected, you’re ready to design the migration process.

This involves crafting a series of processes that will ensure data is accurately carried over. You’ll want to consider technical requirements (i.e. what format will data be in?) and business requirements (i.e. how long do you have to pull off the migration in order to meet your business’s objectives?).

Keep in mind that this process should consider actual physical restraints. Individual message exchanges, for example, expose applications to inherent latency due to signal propagation delays – oftentimes as much as 30ms per exchange. This leads to a theoretical maximum of approximately 120,000 transactions per hour (TPS).

To overcome this, you can use deployment solutions that inherently perform data transfers in blocks, or you can use parallel processing (i.e. creating multiple connections between source and destination systems). Regardless, the takeaway here is that the design process is a game of give-and-take – and your objectives should shape what you give and what you take.

Note that you should only plan to migrate what is necessary. An operational data store (ODS) may have many tables that are purpose-related and temporary in nature, meaning that they’re not part of normal query processing. Such tables should not be migrated as a rule. Similarly, a DBMS may involve many other objects besides data – such as views, stored procedures, security policies – that are likely superfluous to migrate.

In general, don’t select all objects for replication – only those needed.

By the end of this stage, you should have robust documentation of the migration process so that you, and any stakeholders, know what to expect.

3. Employ data ingestion.

With the data migration process designed, a common first step is to employ data ingestion in order to begin replicating data.

Data ingestion, as we’ve written before, is the transportation of data from assorted sources to a storage medium where it can be accessed, used, and analyzed by an organization.

Done successfully, this will give you a working dataset in your new cloud environment.

4. Test your data in the cloud.

Once you’ve employed data ingestion to replicate your data into your cloud environment, you should robustly test the data in its new destination.

This will mean performing the same functions you perform in the current environment, as well as performing any new functions you expect to perform after the migration (for instance, accessing data from different devices, applications, or locations).

This is also the stage where any user acceptance training should occur.

5. Complete the migration.

Finally, when you’ve thoroughly tested your data in the cloud environment and demonstrated its usefulness and accuracy to your satisfaction, you can move to the final stage: Completing the cloud data migration.

This is the point at which you flip the switch and begin using the data in the cloud environment for live applications. Even if things appear to go smoothly, you should review all connections and perform regular audits to make sure that your data continues to perform in the ways that you expect it to.

Past this stage, you’ll get to enjoy the benefits of your new cloud environment.

Ready to take the first step toward cloud data migration?

Hopefully, the information above has helped you to improve your understanding of cloud data migration as you consider how to move forward in your context. If you’re looking for data ingestion services to facilitate a migration, let’s talk.

At StarQuest, we’re experts at data ingestion. Our powerful SQDR software can be utilized for replication and ingestion from an extensive range of data sources. And, importantly, our customer service team is regarded as some of the best in the business, with clients calling us “The best vendor support I have ever encountered.”

If you’re looking for data ingestion for a cloud migration, we can help.

Get in touch with us to discuss your data ingestion needs. We can set you up with a no-charge trial of our software using the DBMS of your choice, and help you take the first step toward a solution that will benefit your business and facilitate a successful migration.