A Complete Guide to Data Migration Testing

Many organizations and businesses today are utilizing various cloud-based solutions, including serverless computing, ...

Many organizations and businesses today are utilizing various cloud-based solutions, including serverless computing, data storage, and analytics. However, to take advantage of the many benefits provided by the cloud, you must first transfer data from your legacy systems.

Any errors during data migration can become catastrophic, especially if incomplete or corrupted data makes its way to your target system. You should perform comprehensive data migration testing to ensure a smooth, accurate transfer.


What Is Data Migration Testing?

Manufacturers build prototypes before they begin mass-producing new products, then perform various tests to ensure quality and safety, and verify the product performs as expected. It’s much easier and cheaper to find and resolve errors during the pre-production phase than it is to assume everything is satisfactory and then realize you have a warehouse full of faulty products.

Data migration testing is similar to testing in manufacturing. Its goals are to ensure that:

  • Business disruptions during migration are minimal.
  • Data transfers are complete.
  • You discover potential problems with the data, target system, and migration process so you can resolve them before transferring large amounts of data.
  • All functionalities in the target system remain the same as in the legacy system.
  • Everything you transfer is compatible with your new systems.

The goals of moving your data to the cloud may include better performance, more effortless scalability, and cost savings. Still, you won’t reach these goals without accurate data located in the correct places.

Transferring enormous amounts of data takes time, the right tools and strategy, and careful planning. If anything goes wrong during the process, errors can have a domino effect. That’s one reason why data migration testing is so important. Inaccurate data is one concern, but performance and security are also vital.

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How Does Data Migration Testing Work?

Your IT team and data migration partner should develop a detailed plan for the transfer during the initial phase of your project. These professionals will study your legacy and target systems and the data you are transferring, then decide on the best data migration tools to use. They'll also determine the best ways to test the process.

There are three main ways to migrate data:

  • On-premises: typically used to migrate data to other physical systems
  • Open-source: using open-source software to migrate data; requires advanced coding skills
  • Cloud-based: moving data via the cloud, usually to a cloud-based target system

For enterprise-level businesses, cloud-based migration is usually the best option. Cloudficient offers several cloud-based solutions to help with enterprise digital transformations.

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You’ll probably transfer multiple datasets, and the same migration tools might not work for all data. Customizing the tests to achieve the best outcome for each component you migrate is part of the testing process.

Your data migration validation checklist should include the order of each testing step. When testers discover a problem, they note it, find appropriate resolutions, and then test the solutions to ensure they have eliminated the error.

Testing is an ongoing process, from the time you decide to migrate data until your target system is running smoothly. When you have an experienced data migration partner, we will work with you to ensure that your customized plan addresses all your needs.

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Types and Phases of Data Migration Testing

There are many kinds of migrations, including applications, databases, operating systems, and servers. Regardless of what data you are transferring, though, there are three main testing phases. Each phase includes multiple steps, all of which serve a specific purpose.

Pre-Migration Testing

Before you begin transferring data, you should choose what data to migrate and what to leave behind. During this process, cleanse the data you will move to ensure its integrity.

Pre-migration testing consists of steps to:

  • Ensure that the migration path for every piece of data from your existing system to the new one is accurate and well-defined.
  • Verify that your source data is compatible with your target’s formatting and system requirements.
  • Validate your connectivity status and migration tool functionality on both ends.
  • Back up all data so you can recover lost or inaccurate data after migration, noting data and record counts to ensure that everything transfers.
  • Ensure that you remain compliant with regulatory guidelines.

When you finalize your plans and other pre-migration steps, you should transfer small amounts of data to ensure that everything works properly. This trial run may uncover unexpected issues you can address before initiating large-scale migrations. It can also help you determine how long the migration will take and the amount of downtime it requires.

Selecting personnel from every department to participate in your data migration test cases is advisable. These people are the most familiar with how they use legacy systems and will be most likely to spot differences and potential issues with the target system.

Your migration partner will also test and validate data integrity, completeness, and functionality. However, end users need to be comfortable with your new systems. Involving key personnel in the testing process can promote your overall objectives.

Migration Testing

Your data stream should flow continuously during your actual migration, and it needs to arrive intact at its intended destination. When you begin migrating data, real-time monitoring and testing include:

  • Ensuring that the data transfer is secure
  • Modifying configurations, hosts, firewalls, and other target system requirements, if necessary
  • Verifying connectivity and integrations
  • Validating data samples to ensure quality and spot errors
  • Making sure that the data arrives in the right places in the proper format

User acceptance testing measures whether you can use the transferred data as intended.

Post-Migration Testing

When you first move into a new home, you’ll probably try out various devices to make sure they still work and weren’t damaged in transit. Post-migration testing performs a similar function. During this phase, we test the target system to:

  • Be sure that all features and functions work properly
  • Perform data reconciliation to ensure that the data in your new system exactly matches legacy data
  • Make sure users can access data
  • Confirm that it supports data transaction volumes and expected speeds

All data migration validation checklist documentation should be accurate, detailing every step and procedure.

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Benefits of Data Migration Testing

Testing can identify potential problems before they happen, giving you the opportunity to develop solutions before you damage or lose data. Although you might be tempted to skip some of the testing procedures, you may regret that decision.

Data migration testing provides multiple invaluable benefits that far outweigh the time and money spent on testing procedures.

Maintains Data Integrity

One faulty part can make a car engine fail, causing a crash. One corrupted piece of data can have a similar effect on your calculations and business processes. Using poor-quality data might:

  • Alter sales figures or produce inaccurate forecasts
  • Lead to less effective marketing strategies
  • Cause systems to malfunction or deny access
  • Result in non-compliance
  • Present security risks

These consequences can potentially cause financial losses and disruptions. Proper testing validates the quality of your data before, during, and after migration.

Minimizes Data Loss

Losing data can cause many of the same issues as data corruption. Data migration testing records the amount of data in your legacy system and then compares it to what arrives in your target system. We can identify data loss and address the errors causing it. If necessary, we will restore the missing data from your backed-up files if the records don't match.

Reduces Downtime

You will ideally schedule your data migration at times that minimize business disruptions. However, initiating a migration without thoroughly testing the process first can lead to extended downtime if problems arise.

Keeps Data Safe

Cloud-based solutions can be vulnerable to hacking if you don’t take proper security measures. Testing various data protection strategies, such as encryption and using firewalls during the complete migration process, can minimize these risks.

Ensures Compatibility

When you integrate cloud-based technologies into your company’s workflows, you may face compatibility challenges with new applications or third-party components. Transferring data to the cloud doesn’t do any good if you’re unable to use it properly. Data migration testing verifies that your transfer data is compatible with your target system.

Measures Target System Capabilities and Storage Capacity

Improved performance speed is one of the primary benefits of cloud-based computing. Your target system must be capable of handling heavy simultaneous usage without causing significant lag time. It should also enable fast response times. If your new system doesn’t fulfill both of these requirements, it won’t do you much good.

You must have enough data storage space to enable faster processing speeds, but paying for too much storage is an unnecessary expense. Comprehensive testing can ensure that your target system’s specifications will produce maximum benefits.

Challenges of Data Migration Testing

Despite its advantages, data migration has many associated challenges, especially if you attempt to do it on your own. Any of these issues can produce unsuccessful migrations, resulting in wasted time and money. Data migration test cases can identify problems, and Cloudficient knows how to overcome these challenges.

Data System Complexity

Any data system can be complex, but enterprise-level systems typically have a multitude of separate systems. Each component likely has different requirements, permissions, and functionalities, even if several departments use the same component.

Everything you transfer must arrive in your target system correctly. This means formatting, fields, and file locations must be exact. With complex systems, it is easy to miss some of these vital details.

Common Security Concerns

On-premises data storage presents security concerns, but cloud-based solutions can have heightened risks. Using proper security protocols is vital to protect your data, including your client and customer information.

Limited Resources

Many large companies can’t spare the qualified personnel to perform adequate data migration testing. Hiring employees to do the job isn’t cost-effective, and you may not find people with experience who know how to conduct the proper tests and overcome challenges.

Inexperienced Testers

Most parents would not trust their child to unknown, inexperienced babysitters. They take great care to vet the caregiver’s abilities to make sure their precious offspring is in safe, capable hands.

In some ways, a company’s data is its most valuable asset. Like risking your child’s safety and well-being by choosing the wrong caregivers, using untrained, unknown, or inexperienced people or companies to perform migration testing is a significant hazard because of all the potential adverse outcomes.

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For a successful data migration, you must pay close attention to every detail, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem to be. Choosing the wrong testing methods, not customizing them to facilitate accurate results for each data set, or failing to examine each component leaves room for catastrophic errors or unsuccessful transfers.

Tips for a Successful Data Migration

Whether you are beginning your digital transformation by migrating your data to the cloud, expiring or transforming data before transfer, or restructuring because of mergers or acquisitions, your company needs to have a successful data migration. Depending on the amount of data you have, system complexities and requirements, compliance issues, and other factors, your migration may take a long time to complete.

It may be tempting to hasten the process, but cutting corners is unwise. As with any business project, you should:

  • Define your project’s goals, nature, and scope
  • Develop a reasonable budget and timeline
  • Choose the tools or migration partner to facilitate your data transfer
  • Create a detailed plan that includes scheduling, steps, performance indicators, and testing methods
  • Test the process, tools, and data thoroughly before and after
  • Plan for possible roadblocks and create viable solutions for each scenario

Data migration and testing isn’t something you do often. This is a specialized field with various challenges, and it takes careful planning and execution to be successful. Choosing the right company to perform and oversee these tasks is vital.

Trust Cloudficient for Your Data Migration Testing

Data migration is what we do. Our vast experience gives us invaluable insights into the types of issues you might face and the knowledge to overcome these challenges. Our next-generation migration technology enables smooth data transfers, and our testing procedures are comprehensive to ensure successful migrations with minimal downtime.

Cloudficient’s data migration processes are efficient, scalable, seamless, and affordable. Our proven methodology includes intensive data migration testing to provide the best results. Contact Cloudficient today to learn more about partnering with us or to request your no-obligation, free Proof of Concept.

With unmatched next generation migration technology, Cloudficient is revolutionizing the way businesses retire legacy systems and transform their organization into the cloud. Our business constantly remains focused on client needs and creating product offerings that match them. We provide affordable services that are scalable, fast and seamless.

If you would like to learn more about how to bring Cloudficiency to your migration project, visit our website, or contact us.

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