What happens when you want to change an IT system or platform that you are using? Or maybe you need to upgrade an existing application that is now out of date. Perhaps your business is expanding and you need to expand your systems to cope with the change. Maybe you are moving your data and systems offsite and into the Cloud, software as a service? The answer? You start a migration project.
The Reasons For A Migration Project
The reasons for a migration project are many. Highlighted below are some common scenarios why you might need a migration project to satisfy the task or problem at hand.
Upgrading To New Hardware Platforms
These types of migrations are usually quite straight forward as long as you haven’t let your systems get so far out of date that they will not easily migrate to a new hardware platform.
You have bought some new servers that should boost your network and system performance and you now want to migrate your software, data, or storage onto the new servers.
First thing you need to do is to make sure that any operating systems or server software applications you are running will run successfully on the new hardware. Check this won’t be an issue before spending all the money on new hardware. It’s also possible that your OS or software vendor will have an upgrade patch or service pack that you need to run in order to install your software onto the new hardware platform.
If all is OK, in theory, then you simply need to install your software on the new platform, and then do a migration of and data, files or other estate that you have on the old running systems, and then switch your users over to the new faster world.
Sounds simple, but actually there is more to it than that in practice. You would need to do a dummy migration first as a test that all was going to work well. Schedule down time with your users whilst the migration was happening. Perform full backups. Have a roll back strategy in case something goes wrong and you cannot proceed. There might also be a need for training, upgrade support etc.
The bigger the data load, and the bigger the reliance of the company on the system generally means the bigger the project scope and resources that you would need to complete a successful project.
Upgrading To New Software Platforms
Software migrations are necessary to keep up with new releases and changes implemented by your software vendor. Sometimes the upgrade migration can be in place, (ie – leave your data and application exactly where it is and simply upgrade the software), sometimes its not as easy as that and a full migration project is necessary.
Your software vendor has released a new version of their software. Maybe there are some new features in the release that would be useful to your business, or maybe the vendor is planning to drop support for the old release and therefore you need to upgrade to maintain your support or SLA.
Your vendor will provide documentation around your upgrade or migration rules and conditions.
For example, has the minimum hardware requirements changed and maybe you need a new hardware platform to run the software on.
Can you do an in place upgrade as descried above, or are you going to have to do a new installation of the software and then migrate the data?
All well prepared migration projects will flesh out these questions and provide answers that will drive the resources you need and the time and cost to complete the migration, from planning through to testing and release.
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