When an IT system is handling significant data in different formats from a multitude of different systems, the existing system may need an IT system upgrade to a larger system or to transfer its data to another system entirely.

This is what is known as a data migration, and it’s an important factor in enabling businesses to effectively use data to guide their business decisions. Performing a migration expands data storage availability and allows for better data management capabilities, which is why it’s such a widely used process. Almost every business will undertake a data migration – however big or small – at some point.

We’ll explain what it is, why it’s important, how it’s done and even outline the different types of migrations possible so that your business knows what to expect when it’s time.

Data storage units

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What does data migration mean?

To put it simply, data migration is where data is transferred from one computing environment or storage system to another. Storage systems could include transfers between databases or even certain data file formats.

Businesses undertake data migration projects for a variety of reasons, and it doesn’t always necessarily need to be tied to a system overload. For example if a business is replacing a server, changing storage devices or even changing data centres a data migration will need to occur. 

Data migrations also play a key part in cloud migrations, where on-site IT infrastructure and data is moved to a cloud computing environment.

The most important things to keep in mind when migrating data are ensuring that your business is using the right type of migration, and that it’s cost-effective as well as secure. For these reasons, data migrations are often outlined in business IT strategies which you can read more about here.

Why is data migration important?

Performing a data migration is important because it is an essential factor when a business needs to move its data in any way. Data migrations are necessary for example in scenarios where a business needs to upgrade its system or server, consolidate storage hardware, change databases or data centres or even change data formats between HDD to SDD.

Data migrations ensure that the data is transferred successfully and securely, and prevent corruption or loss from occurring through incompatible devices or poor data execution. 

Data migrations also become increasingly important in the following scenarios:

Related Reading: Cloud migrations are becoming commonplace as more businesses move their computing environments to the cloud. Read the key reasons why any business should consider moving to a cloud environment.

What are the different types of data migration?

There are five different types of data migrations available:

Application Migration

An application migration occurs when a business either switches application platforms or vendors. Examples might include changing from one CRM to another, or the implementation of a new HR system.

When transferring between applications, it’s imperative that businesses ensure the data is compatible with both applications so that it can be communicated. Each application will have a preferred data model, which means that how the data is formatted matters.

To successfully perform a data migration across applications, businesses can:

Business Process Migration

A business process migration usually occurs when a business is either acquiring a subsidiary company, merging with another company, optimising its organisation, or reorganising the structure of the overall business.

A business process migration, sometimes called a technology migration, will involve both application and database migrations because the overall migration will contain substantial amounts of data regarding the business operations, products and even customers.

Cloud Migration

A cloud migration occurs when moving data to the cloud from an on-site computing environment. 

Cloud migrations are often undertaken when a business wants to work cost-effectively, requires scalability and also is no longer dependent on a mass of storage resources. 

In a cloud migration, a business’s informational assets, applications and services are all transferred to a cloud computing environment hosted by a service provider. The provider’s firewall will protect the data, which automatically makes it one of the safest types of migration available.

To find out more about undergoing a cloud migration and to determine if your business might need one, you can read all about them in our blog on the subject.

Database Migration

Database migrations occur for a number of reasons, including a business changing the vendor of their database, upgrading the type of database or database software they’re using, or even just performing a cloud migration of their database and its software.

Database migrations are incredibly sensitive and require meticulous planning and testing. In the database migration process there are a number of smaller tasks involved which include assessing the storage capacity of the new target database, testing the application to ensure that the data is not at risk of corruption through incompatibility, and ensuring the data will remain confidential and secure. 

Storage Migration

A storage migration occurs when data needs to be transferred from one type of storage system to another. Examples include transferring data from one hard drive to another, or transferring data to the cloud.

Usually a storage migration will be necessary when technology upgrades or refreshes become available to the business. New technologies are often beneficial for businesses because they reduce the cost, or improve the accessibility and efficiency of using the data in the new software.

During the storage migration process data management steps will often be taken such as cloning data, reducing corrupt data or removing old data, or validating data so that the migration remains as cost-effective and efficient as possible.

Does your business need a data migration?

When it comes to migrating your data, sometimes it’s best to use an IT service provider who can handle the strategising, management and protection of your data as it’s transferred from one source to another.

At Binary Blue we have over 37 years of experience in the business which means we’ve handled thousands of migrations: Cloud, hardware and software related. We can help streamline your small business with more efficient and cost-effective systems that allow your business to grow. Our all-in-one solution means you’ll have a team of IT experts by your side from sourcing to training and everything in between. If you’re ready to get started, get in touch today.