Features, Insight, Opinion

Prepare for Cloud Database Migration

By Thomas LaRock, Head Geek, SolarWinds

The global pandemic has forced companies to pivot over the past year in significant ways. Whether it was transitioning to a remote workforce or reimagining how to interact with customers, digital transformation initiatives within businesses were happening ten-fold. As part of that, the pandemic notably accelerated corporate planning for cloud computing.

In fact, The SolarWinds Query Report 2021: Database Priorities and Pitfalls respondents report less than half of their databases are hosted/managed in the cloud. And over half of the survey respondents say their organisations plan to adopt Cloud DBaaS within the next three years.

That same survey found 36% of respondents reported integrating cloud as one of their organisation’s top priorities in 2021. As organisations shift to the cloud, the need for database migration increases in parallel.

In short, if you haven’t migrated your database yet, you will soon.

But before embarking on the lengthy and complex migration process, IT professionals need to spend time analyzing and planning the right migrations and ensure the solution and process they select is compatible and right for their business.

For a seamless database migration here are some top tips to get you started.

Plan, Set Goals, and Prioritize

Migrating your database to the cloud can’t always be done overnight. With more complexity than ever before, planning is crucial. In fact, 31% of respondents said complexity increased due to COVID-19 along with the transition to remote work over the past year. The top three drivers of added complexity included increased data demands from users, increased volume of data, and security/compliance issues such as GDPR.

With this increased complexity, it’s important to plan accordingly. Before the database cloud migration begins, work with all necessary teams to make a list of business goals. This will help you establish the ground rules and spark a conversation about what technology is best suited for your migration. Also list out the skills needed for each part of the migration to ensure you have the right people on the job. Getting a strong team together will be instrumental to the success of the migration.

While every step of migration is important, you must remind yourself and your team that not everything can be priority #1. If you’re ever struggling on what to prioritise, a quick cost-benefit-risk analysis will likely point you in the right direction.

Map Your Data Estate

With your team together and a migration plan built, you’ll want to drill down deeper and begin to map out the entire cloud journey. This will assist in determining which capabilities and activities are required to execute effectively. If you don’t thoroughly test and sort through data, for example, the migration process could potentially fail.

You don’t want to spend time and money migrating data and applications that don’t need to be moved. Kick off a basic data and code cleanse to ensure only what’s needed is migrated. This will help both reduce complexity and overall cloud cost when the migration is complete.

A detailed assessment of the data estate is vital to evaluate the dependencies or complex coding features which exist is part of the mapping process. Anything interconnected with a database must migrate to the cloud, so taking the preliminary precautions now will help avoid surprises later.

Following that, database professionals should ensure they have insight into what the company will pay for in the cloud. After understanding the costs associated, you should focus on maximising output and compute requirements to account for those costs, and test for data fidelity to validate data integrity post-migration. This step is often ignored, but critical.

Though it may seem like a big undertaking, with careful planning and evaluation you’ll be able to implement a successful migration strategy. Whether you like it or not, it’s highly likely you’ll start to have these conversations soon. Prepare now to avoid complications later.

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