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Why Is Data Migration Seen as Difficult and Risky?

The short answer is "data gravity." Although the concept of data gravity has been around for some time, the challenge is becoming more significant because of data migrations to cloud infrastructures. In brief, data gravity is a metaphor that describes:

  • How data attracts other data to it as it grows
  • How data is integrated into a business
  • How data becomes customized over time

To move applications and data to more advantageous environments, Gartner recommends "disentangling" data and applications as a means of overcoming data gravity. By making time at the beginning of the project to sort out data and application complexities, firms can improve their data management, enable application mobility, and improve data governance.

What is the Best Approach?

The main issue is that every application complicates data management by introducing elements of application logic into the data management tier, and each one is indifferent to the next data use case. Business processes use data in isolation and then output their own formats, leaving integration for the next process. Therefore, application design, data architecture, and business processes must all respond to each other, but often one of these groups is unable or unwilling to change. This forces application administrators to sidestep ideal and simple workflows, resulting in suboptimal designs. And, although the workaround may have been necessary at the time, this technical debt must eventually be addressed during data migration or integration projects.

Given this complexity, consider promoting data migration to "strategic weapon" status so that it gets the right level of awareness and resources. To ensure that the project gets the attention it needs, focus on the most provocative element of the migration – the fact that the legacy system will be turned off – and you’ll have the attention of key stakeholders, guaranteed.

What Is Data Migration?

Data migration is the process of moving data from one location to another, one format to another, or one application to another. Generally, this is the result of introducing a new system or location for the data. The business driver is usually an application migration or consolidation in which legacy systems are replaced or augmented by new applications that will share the same dataset. These days, data migrations are often started as firms move from on-premises infrastructure and applications to cloud-based storage and applications to optimize or transform their company

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