In simple terms, data migration is the process of transferring existing data to a new storage system. There are a lot of preparation strategies that proceed with the process of data migration. The creation of backup and testing of quality are important stages of the preparation strategy. After this, a well-defined strategy has to be drafted and the results need to be validated. For the data migration process to be fully accomplished, the old infrastructure like the traditional databases needs to be shut down.

Precursors to data migration

There are a large number of triggers related to the process of data migration. The first among them is the need for the modernization of a legacy system. Even if the legacy system does not need to be modernized, the driver of a data migration strategy can arise from the introduction of a novel system. Whenever the infrastructural capacity of the storage system needs to be expanded, data migration becomes necessary. A company may decide to shift its operations to a centralized database and this may also act as a precursor to data migration. In the present dynamics of the business market, mergers and acquisitions are very common. These are also some of the causes which may trigger the event of data migration. Finally, the need to shift operations to cloud environments causes a company to think about a data migration strategy.

Migration, integration, and replication

It is important to distinguish between three processes of data migration, integration, and replication. When we collect data from different sources inside and outside an organization and store it as a single unit, it is called data integration. It is one of the most important data management strategies because it diversifies access to information for various departments. It also acts as a platform for carrying out precise analysis and business insights. On the other hand, data migration involves transferring various data sets to desired locations for the purpose of carrying out business operations. Abandonment of old databases is a critical component of data migration. This is one of the distinguishing characteristics between data migration and data replication. Data replication involves the creation of a repository of information that contains all the data sets which were present in the original source.


There are usually six types of data migration. The first type is called storage migration. This type of migration is common when businesses upgrade their traditional systems and get ready with modern equipment. Storage migration is common when a business moves its operation to the cloud environments and traditional systems like hard drives and mainframe computers are discarded. The second important type of migration is called database migration. Database migration is a much more detailed process and enables a business to organize its information in a better sequential format. Such a migration is controlled through a database management system. The third type of migration is called application migration. This type of migration is accompanied by a change in the computing environment. One of the problems that are encountered in this type of migration is the lack of uniformity in data models between the old and new interfaces. The fourth type of migration is called data center migration. Datacenter migration is considered a sophisticated form of migration because it involves physical infrastructure like servers that store critical applications. This type of migration may involve the moving of all digital assets and other data types to new servers. The fifth type of migration process that we discuss is called Business Process Migration. This type of migration becomes important when a business merges its operations with another or desires to invest in new markets. In this case, old databases and applications may be shifted to a new environment to cater to the demands of new customers and products. The last type of migration that has become increasingly popular over a period of time is called cloud migration. Cloud migration involves the movement of various data assets like workloads and other data resources to the cloud ecosystem. As per a report by Gartner, cloud migration will become one of the predominant streams of migration among IT companies and about 50% of the organizations will have shifted to cloud premises by the end of 2025.

Concluding remarks

Two important data migration approaches that are becoming popular in the present time include the big bang data migration approach and the trickle data migration approach. Despite the type of approach adopted by a company for data migration, the goal remains common. That is, to enhance the scope of storage and computing in the age of industry 4.0.