Before we talk about SQL data migration, it is important to know what data migration is. Data Migration is the process of moving data from one place to another. Following that, SQL Data Migration is defined as moving data to or from the SQL Server. The migration process may appear straightforward at first, but it involves a lot of complexity, especially when migrating a large volume of enterprise data.
When we look at it in terms of an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process, data migration involves pulling data from one system, transforming and aggregating it as necessary, and loading it onto the destination system. This means that migration involves multiple phases, each of which come with their own set of challenges.
This guide will break down the SQL data migration process and describe how data migration tools, such as Astera Centerprise, can simplify the process.
What is Data Migration in SQL?
Database migration in Microsoft SQL Server involves moving data to or from a SQL server. The circumstances that require users to either move or restore databases may include:
- Making a move to a new server.
- Transferring to a different instance of SQL.
- Creating a development server.
- Restoring a database from backup.
SQL Server Migration – The Process
Migrating databases typically involves four significant stages as follows:
- Extract: Retrieving data from the source database or a source server and sending it to a staging or intermediary server.
- Standardize: Matching the source data to the destination formats could cater to compatibility issues with the data type or ensure that metadata correctly reflects the data.
- Aggregate and Cleanse: Perform any aggregation tasks to de-duplicate records and/or calculate derived fields.
- Load: Transferring the cleansed, aggregated, and transformed data into the target database.
These stages have to be carefully planned and tested before execution to ensure that data is migrated accurately. Unfortunately, the entire process can be quite time-consuming, especially if you build an in-house data migration process from scratch by writing your code and stored procedures. Therefore, a better approach is to use an enterprise-grade data migration tool that can save you time and reduce the error probability.
What to Look for In an SQL Data Migration Tool?
We know that data migration involves ETL processes, so using a data integration tool to simplify this process makes sense. However, the next question is, how to find the right tool that meets your specific requirements?
Here is a list of features that you should look for when picking the right tool for your organization:
- Built-in connectors: An enterprise ecosystem includes numerous cloud applications and database systems, so opting for a tool that supports pre-built connectors should be a preference. For instance, if you are using the Microsoft tier, then you should be looking for the SQL Server connector at the very least.
- Short learning curve: The purpose of using data migration tools is to reduce the overhead complexity and time of building an in-house solution. Therefore, the tool you choose should be easy to learn and use, ideally with a drag-and-drop GUI that simplifies your SQL Server migration pipeline.
- Cloud compatibility: You should be able to access and work on your data pipelines from anywhere at any time, so the tool should support REST API architecture.
- Multi-purpose: A good tool should not be limited to just data migration tasks but also be flexible for a range of ETL processes and integration tasks, such as cleansing source data or loading it from APIs/third-party services.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Data Migration in Centerprise
This section will explain through a use case how an SQL migration process can be carried out in an SQL data migration tool, Astera Centerprise. The hypothesis is that the user has already set up the schemas/data definitions in the destination instance.
- Add a connector for the source, SQL Server database, by adding the connection parameters (access credentials and database name). This can be an on-premises SQL Server database, as illustrated in the example.
- If you need to apply any transformations or aggregations, pick the suitable function, and add it to your migration pipeline. You can use these transformations to perform several functions, such as grouping data, calculating derived fields, or de-duplicating data. You can also use these to clean and translate your data in the format required by the target SQL server.
- Add a database destination connector for where you are migrating your data. In this example, our destination server is the SQL Server database.
- Create data mappings between the two SQL Server databases. Centerprise provides you with a user-friendly and interactive interface for doing this where you can drag-and-drop the mapping from the source to the destination. This makes it convenient for you to move SQL Server data between the two instances without renaming columns.
This is just one example of how Astera Centerprise can serve as your data migration assistant and help simplify the process. You can perform a variety of other migration tasks with it as well, such as modifying the data in the SQL server database, transferring it to a different relational database system (such as SAP HANA or MariaDB), or setting up your organization’s data warehouse.
Businesses undertake SQL migration projects for several reasons. For example, it could be to build a new data warehouse, overhaul your existing systems, or upgrade your database systems. Such projects are critical to organizations when migrating data between the source and target. It is essential to plan and carefully test your migration to ensure no data loss.
Astera Centerprise is a powerful and feature-rich migration tool that streamlines every stage of your data migration procedure from preparation to integration to loading. It can become your data migration assistant for your next major migration project. If you are looking for an SQL data migration tool, give Astera Centerprise a try!