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5 Recommendations to Minimize Data Migration Downtime

According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute, and 98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000. For any organization considering migrating data from on-premises to the Cloud, that statistic should underscore the importance of a well-planned data migration strategy to minimize any data migration downtime. Based on countless data migration projects we’ve planned and implemented, from simple backup and restore approaches to synchronous replications, we offer the following recommendations to help you plan a successful data migration with minimal data migration downtime.

Recommendation #1: Take a Migration Readiness Assessment

With myriad factors that contribute to a successful data migration project, a migration readiness assessment (MRA) can be a very worthwhile investment of time. An MRA will identify areas or issues that could unexpectedly prolong data migration downtime, such as inadequate resources allocated for replication instance or the need for a schema conversion tool when migrating to a database engine different from the source database. Once you’ve completed an MRA, an AWS MAP Partner such as Mission can help pave the way for a successful migration process.

Recommendation #2: Decide Which Data You Actually Need to Migrate

Among the data residing in your on-premises databases, there’s a good chance that some of these data need not migrate. Consult with your systems and database administrators, application developers, and line-of-business leaders to determine which data sources actually need to migrate. Key questions to ask include:

  • Does the entire database or only a portion of the database need to migrate?
  • Are there any data archives that are no longer required?
  • Do any of the data require processing prior to migration in order to reduce data volumes or improve data quality?

Careful evaluation of existing data resources and the rationale for migrating them to the Cloud can reduce the volume of data to be migrated, shorten migration time, and potentially avoid problems and delays associated with wholesale data migrations. Benchmark your short and long term goals using the AWS well-architected framework.

Recommendation #3: Select the Appropriate Migration Services and Tools

AWS has a vast array of database services and migration tools, and figuring out which ones to use on your own can be overwhelming. An AWS Consulting Partner like Mission can help you determine which migration tools and services you need, based on your customized technical roadmap.

AWS database services are designed to meet the most demanding performance requirements. Businesses can select from Aurora - a MySQL and PostgreSQL-compatible relational database, DynamoDB - a key-value and document database, DocumentDB - a document database service that supports MongoDB workloads, Redshift cloud data warehouse, S3 object storage service, Relational Database Service (RDS) - a service to set up, manage, and scale relational databases in the Cloud, and Elastic File System (EFS) for use with AWS Cloud services and on-premises resources.

AWS tools to migrate data into AWS environments include the Snow family of services which are secure physical devices for transfer of huge data volumes into AWS; AWS DataSync for automated on-premises to S3 or EFS data transfers; and AWS Transfer for SFTP to transfer of files directly into S3 using the Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). AWS Database Migration Service transfers commercial and open-source databases, allowing the source database to remain fully operational during the migration to minimize downtime for applications that rely on the database.

An AWS Advanced Consulting Partner plays a critical role in helping you understand the capabilities and nuances of each of these database services and migration tools. Using them in countless migration projects, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner knows which tools to apply to optimize the migration process. Whether migration is a simple “backup and restore” process or a more involved synchronous replication using automation to prevent manual errors and facilitate easy and rapid rollback, the guidance of an experienced AWS Advanced Consulting Partner ensures you’re employing the best data migration strategies and methods.

Recommendation #4: Prepare for the Unexpected

Even with careful planning, understanding which data need to be migrated, selecting the appropriate storage and database services, and applying the appropriate data transfer methods, there’s always the potential for unexpected problems. Project teams can be overly optimistic when estimating the time required to successfully execute data migration or the downtime incurred. Based on experience, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner will not only help you plan for contingencies, such as creating a rollback plan, but also guide you in developing a realistic migration timeline.

Recommendation #5: Seek the Guidance of an AWS Partner

Although you may have a strong contingent of skilled IT personnel, tackling data migration for the first time is sure to present challenges. Guidance from an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner who has successfully helped customers navigate the complexities of AWS data migrations can be one of the most cost-effective items in your migration plan budget. With their extensive technical knowledge of the AWS cloud environment, services, and migration tools, they can help you identify potential issues and concerns, and develop and implement the optimum migration plan to quickly and securely move data to your AWS environment while minimizing data migration downtime.

Author Spotlight:

Lucas Hanson

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