Setting the Bar in Healthcare IT Systems


Data migration is the process of transferring data between data storage systems, data formats or computer systems. A data migration project is usually undertaken to replace or upgrade servers or storage equipment, for a website consolidation, to conduct server maintenance or to relocate a data center.


Typically data migration occurs during an upgrade of existing hardware or transfer to a completely new system. Examples include: migration to or from hardware platform; upgrading a database or migrating to new software; or company-mergers when the parallel systems in the two companies need to be merged into one. There are three main options to accomplish data migration:

  1. Merge the systems from the two companies into a brand new one
  2. Migrate one of the systems to the other one.
  3. Leave the systems as they are but create a common view on top of them – a data warehouse.


Factors to consider in a data migration project include how long the migration will take; the amount of downtime required; and the risk to the business from technical compatibility issues, data corruption, application performance issues, and missed data or data loss.

There are three broad categories of data movers:

  1. Host-based software is best for application-specific migrations such as platform upgrades and for database replication and file copying.
  2. Array-based software is primarily used to migrate data between like systems.
  3. Network appliances migrate volumes, files or blocks of data depending on their configuration.

The following best practices should be used to protect data during a migration:

  • Understand what data you are migrating, where it lives, what form it’s in and the form it will take at its new destination.
  • Extract, transform and deduplicate data before moving it.
  • Implement data migration policies so data is moved in an orderly manner.
  • Test and validate the migrated data to ensure it is accurate.
  • Audit and document the entire data migration process.