When it comes to data migration there’s a lot riding on the right outcome, so the effort put into up front planning will show in the results. Allocating a significant portion of resources to detailed planning allows for thorough analysis, risk mitigation, design and ultimately contributes to the success of the entire migration. To quantify how important this is, the planning phase should account for around two thirds of the overall effort. As the saying goes, ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish.’  

When considering all the factors to include in the plan you can’t go past data profiling and stakeholder management. However the phase that should equate to approximately 25% of the plan is the Migration Design. 

What is Migration Design?

The Migration Design is like the roadmap to success, as it governs the transfer of data between systems or platforms. The design addresses data structure, content nuances, and relationship dependencies, and should be crafted during the initial stages of the planning process so that the data migration is fully aligned with organisational goals and objectives. This should provide ample time for a comprehensive assessment of the current digital landscape and the formulation of a blueprint for a smooth transition.  


Benefits of Migration Design 

Improved Performance: Data Migration, when strategically planned, can lead to enhanced system performance. Whether through code optimisation, hardware upgrades, or adopting new technologies, the design is instrumental in unlocking improved speed and efficiency. 

Cost Optimisation: By assessing and optimising the digital infrastructure, unnecessary expenses can be minimised and cost-saving measures implemented.  

Scalability and Flexibility: A well-designed migration plan ensures that the digital infrastructure is not only aligned with current needs but is also scalable and flexible for future growth. This adaptability allows organsations to respond to changing requirements without major disruptions. 


Big Bang or Trickle? 

Planning the entire process of transferring data from one system to another is no small feat, and a key decision is which of two migration strategies to use – Big Bang or Trickle.  When analysing these options factors like the organisations’ tolerance for downtime, the importance of the systems being migrated, and the overall project timeline are considered. The decision between Trickle and Big Bang migration shapes the entire plan, including how data will be migrated, the sequence of migration, and the potential impact on ongoing operations. 

This decision needs to be aligned with other considerations like data dependencies, system integrations, and the level of risk that is acceptable to the business. Migration planners need to assess the organisations’ specific needs and constraints and then decide whether a gradual phased approach (Trickle) or a swift all-at-once approach (Big Bang) is more suitable. 


The Four Methods of Migration Design 

Once the strategy is determined it’s time to map out the method for migration. This needs to be considered in line with the strategy chosen, as not all methods are compatible.

Lift and Shift: Involves relocating data from one environment to another without significant modifications. It is a quick and straightforward approach, suitable for scenarios where optimisation is not a primary concern. However, it may overlook opportunities for efficiency improvement. This method is suitable for both Trickle and Big Bang migrations. 

Rehosting: Also known as “lift and improve” this approach involves moving data while concurrently making improvements to the infrastructure. This can include upgrading hardware, adjusting configurations, or optimising for the new environment. It strikes a balance between speed and optimisation, but may overlook deeper migrations. This method is suitable for both Trickle and Big Bang migrations. 

Rearchitecting: This approach is more comprehensive and entails rebuilding applications and infrastructure to align with the new environment. While resource-intensive, it offers significant advantages in terms of performance, scalability, and cost-efficiency. Rearchitecting is only suitable for Big Bang migrations. 

Refactoring: Involves making targeted adjustments to the code or architecture of applications without a complete overhaul. Careful planning and testing are required as this is a precise approach, addressing specific areas for enhancement while maintaining the fundamental structure. Refactoring is only suitable for Trickle migrations. 


Preparing the script

Scripting translates the carefully crafted migration strategy into executable actions. This involves creating code that orchestrates the extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) processes, aligning with the predefined data migration plan. Good scripting allows for multiple benefits: 

Handling precision: Scripting delivers accuracy in the handling of data structures, content transformations, and dependencies, contributing to the seamless execution of the migration design.  

Automation and Repeatability: Codifying the extraction, transformation, and loading processes ensures consistent and controlled execution of data migration tasks in a precise and efficient way.  

Scalability: By automating the data transfer processes, organisations can efficiently handle increasing volumes of data without proportional increases in manual effort. 

Data integrity: Scripting enables the validation of data integrity, aligning with the overall goal of achieving a successful and accurate data migration.

Migration Design serves as the strategic blueprint governing the transfer of data between systems or platforms. It is the detailed execution plan embedded within the overarching Migration Strategy, ensuring a well-thought-out and purposeful approach to data migration. If you are at the start of a data migration and wishing for a successful result, get in touch. As specialists in data migration we can help you get a strong plan in place so that your end goal becomes a reality.