Connect with us


Data Migration For Small Business: A Brief Guide

Last updated by


data migration

Big data is what drives modern businesses. It never sleeps.

Due to how fast-paced the business world is, data migration is inevitable, whether implementing a new system or moving data to secure storage locations. That said, data migration is a complicated process, making it hard for those without the expertise to even conceptualize how it works or why it’s even necessary.

For example, in this business blog, you’ll learn of the various types of data migration, including:

  • Application migration
  • Storage migration
  • Operating system migration
  • Database migration

Plus, also in this article is a guide to the two data migration strategies, namely Big Bang and Trickle! If this is already making your head spin. you can always outsource your data migration requirements to a third party e.g. Quadbridge for fully managed data center migration services. Should you choose this option, look for professionals with tried, tested and proven experience in the industry. Do your research and consider a referral.

There’s no doubt managed services can help reduce the complexities of data center migrations; however, this option may not work out for your small business so keep on reading to understand the basics of data migration.

Definition of Data Migration

Data migration refers to transferring data between different storage systems or databases. Even so, it’s so much more than just simply moving data from one database or system to another. Data migration can involve numerous complicated processes such as re-formatting and data mapping.

In general, data migration happens when a business decides to relocate its data or introduce a new system. The data migration process is usually part of a larger project. When outdated legacy systems are replaced or modernized, a new application is introduced, or a system capacity or storage is expanded.

Four Data Migration Types

Data migration can take a variety of forms. These are as follows:

Storage Migration

This type of data migration focuses more on transferring data from one storage device to another. It can take place either on-premise or in the cloud. Normally, though, it refers to moving data from an on-site data center to a cloud platform.

Storage migrations are the most common and straightforward type of migration. However, it doesn’t mean that you can simply use the copy-paste approach with terabytes of data. You will need a solid plan and strategy coupled with execution.

Database Migration

Database migration is when you move datasets from one or more source databases to more target databases. When completed, the source databases are deleted.
This type of data migration is typically more involved than storage migrations, mainly because you’re dealing with an entire database of files that might be formatted differently.

Application Migration

Application migration can be a combination of both storage and database migrations. When moving an entire application or software from one place to another, they usually have folders, databases, and installation files to be relocated to a different storage system or server.

With application migration, you also need to work with the software vendor to take any extra steps to ensure that the software works appropriately after migration.

Operating System Migration

Another type of data migration is changing the operating system (OS). While the most common type of OS right now is still Windows, there’s been a significant shift as businesses adopt open-source products and services that rely on Linux OS.

Some businesses choose to switch over to Linux because of the fewer disruptions from policy changes and lower licensing costs. Meanwhile, others prefer using both Linux and Windows.
Another reason for an OS migration is to upgrade a user’s hardware because of an expiring lease or upgrade to the next version. This means that your IT experts will have to perform an OS migration at least every three to five years.

Strategic Approaches Of Data Migration


There are two main strategic approaches to data migration. You need to choose the right approach as this will ensure that the project runs smoothly and without delays.

Big Bang Data Migration

The big bang data migration approach means to move all the data from the source to the target environment in a single operation within a specified time.

During this period, systems are down and available for users; the data are moved and transformed to meet the requirements of the new infrastructure. It helps save time and minimizes inconvenience.

There are also significant risks involved because even mid-sized businesses store large amounts of data. Moving all these data quickly is not an easy task as the throughput of the application program interface, and network gateways are limited. This approach is most suitable for smaller businesses that store and use small amounts of data. If you only need to move an application or two to the cloud, it’s possible to do this with the big bang approach.

Trickle Data Migration

As its name implies, a trickle data migration means migrating incrementally and transferring data in phases. Thus, it’s also called phased or iterative migration. This approach uses agile techniques to migrate data and often divides the migration processes into sub-processes, timelines, goals, quality checks, and scope.

Essentially, you’re migrating data in small increments with the new and old systems running parallel to each other. Thus, there’s no downtime, and users can have 24/7 access to your systems. This approach takes too much time and makes the migration project more complex. Throughout the whole process, a team involved should track which data has already been moved and ensure the accessibility of information for users.

Moreover, you can keep the old system fully accessible and operational for users until the migration. However, it also means that your team will need to make sure that the data in the two systems are synchronized in real-time.

A trickle approach is best for large – to medium-sized businesses that need to keep their services and applications available for users 24/7 and that have a team of experts to help with technological challenges.

Final Thoughts

Small businesses need to keep up with the constantly evolving digital world like the more significant players. If your business needs to upgrade its databases while scaling resources and boosting efficiency, or if it simply requires an overall digital transformation, data migration can be the best solution.