Data migration is a common task for many modern enterprises. There are many reasons for migration: moving to a better platform, merging data with another organization, moving to the cloud, cost savings, and more.
However, despite its prevalence in the contemporary business landscape, it is still a complicated and lengthy process with many risks. We propose introducing the Agile methodology into the data migration workflow to negate them. In this article, we will discuss its advantages and how you can implement Agile data migration into your business processes.
Purpose of Implementing Agile for Data Migration
When starting a migration project, it is vital to implement a suitable workflow. Many companies opt for the “Big Bang” approach, migrating all of their data in one or two days.
However, we find this method too risky and unreliable. With this method, all or most of your systems will be unavailable for users, potentially jeopardizing the workflow or income of your business. And, if you fail, you’ll need to roll back the whole database. Moreover, without Agile management, problems won’t be discovered until after execution of the plan is completed. At that point, it might be too late to fix anything.
Nonetheless, the method remains popular due to its relative speed and cost.
In the other corner, we have the trickle methodology, which lends itself more to Agile practices. With its iterative workflow and constant focus on testing, this method is inherently more fool-proof. Unfortunately, it also takes longer, is more expensive, and a fair bit harder.
On the other hand, its advantages are unquestionable. The users will barely notice anything going on as the migration is segmented, so your project will always be up. Moreover, if you fail to migrate a segment of data, only that part needs to be rolled back, significantly reducing time and expenses due to failure. Finally, all mistakes can be fixed in the migration process instead of after, allowing you to preserve the data’s high quality.
Agile Migration Methodology
You need to understand how Agile works to implement it into your data migration process. Here is what a typical migration would look like using the Agile workflow.
Stage 1: Plan
In the planning stage, the team creates the data migration strategy, defining the project's scope and objectives. They identify data sources, destinations, and migration requirements and set clear goals and priorities for each sprint.
Agile also states that you must create a backlog of tasks and user stories to help make your project outline.
Stage 2: Design
During this stage, the team drafts the blueprint for the migration process and its first iterations. They might even create a visual representation of the project to ease the understanding of the process.
Stage 3: Develop
This is the bread and butter of your migration. The team will move data chunks from one platform to another. In an Agile environment, it is best to start with creating the target map of just one business object hierarchy. With bigger objects, we recommend starting with a minor part instead of its entirety. The same goes for the source map of the same limited business object hierarchy.
Instead of tackling the whole project at once, the Agile framework and its vertical approach allow you to work in an incremental fashion to achieve your goals faster.
Stage 4: Test
Typical data migration techniques do not allow you to test in-between iterations, but that is why so many companies are switching to Agile. The testing process is the same, except you conduct it more often with smaller chunks of data, allowing you to catch bugs and issues with higher precision.
Stage 5: Deploy
You will deploy your data fragments to the target platform at this stage. Agile also highlights the need for using automated scripts for deployment and implementing continuous deployment and integration (CI/CD) into the process.
Stage 6: Review
The process is not over when you’re done with the initial deployment; it is only done when everything is perfect. That is why your team will review the results and see if there are any enhancements they can make.
Stage 7: Launch
Finally, when all iterations are done, your migration can be considered finished. You can safely delete data from your old repository or save it as an archive for potential safekeeping.
3 Tips for Effective Implementation of Agile
Unfortunately, not even Agile can keep you from potential issues during data migration. We have a few tips for you to keep the process smooth and predictable:
- Adjust your plans. Migration projects are notoriously prone to cause downtime and disruptions. Include these factors when planning your budget. Also, include potential data loss in your budget because you can never be sure.
- Ensure operability. When migrating, you need to keep both the source and target systems up and ensure there is an effective way to communicate between them. Make sure you have everything ready beforehand.
- Synchronize. To avoid potential losses, ensure your users can access both the source and target systems and synchronize their actions.
Using Hopp for Agile Data Migration
Technically, it is possible to migrate data manually. However, there are more elegant ways. Instead, we recommend researching data migration solutions and choosing one that fits your needs.
On the topic of data migration solutions, we want to present you with Hopp. It is perfect for complex data migrations and was developed with the Agile methodology in mind.
Hopp consists of three components, each tackling a different problem in the migration process: Studio, Core, and Portal.
Studio offers a comprehensive and visually convenient interface for establishing business objects and applying rules and validation criteria. It facilitates high consistency and structuring of mapping.
Core generates the code for data migration based on Studio’s mapping. You can edit the mapping back in Studio and then regenerate the code if it does not produce the required results. You can also manually add additional migration rules, which will not be overwritten by the code generator and will be highlighted by the module.
Portal executes the migration based on the code from Core. It supports migration through fine-grained iterations, allowing you to work on single business objects or fragments of varying sizes. Additionally, you can migrate data across multiple projects simultaneously using different servers.
Finally, Portal is an easily accessible tracking web application. It shows all the details and the results of the migration and any events that occurred during the process. Tracker also allows you to compare iterations to see the baseline and any deviations.
With this powerful suite of data migration tools tailored explicitly for the Agile methodology, your migration will go smoothly.