Sanju Pillai
07 Jul

Complex Database Migrations Need Right Testing

07 July 2011 by Sanju Pillai

Cost savings, consolidation, standardization, operational efficiency, performance, new technologies and so on, reasons might be plenty that drive most of the organizations to migrate their databases to another database management system (DBMS) product. But, most database migrations can be very complex and time-consuming as each database consists of its own proprietary features. It is quite a challenge for enterprises to shift from one DBMS to another. Migration projects can also take several months and involve huge initial costs, which force enterprises to postpone or cancel their plans of migration.

But for enterprises which interpret that migration is quite essential to stay ahead of the competition, it is a must for them to draw a migration strategy to ensure careful planning, skilled resources, smart use of tools, and thorough testing to be successful. The basic goal of a migration project is to transfer data from source legacy system to a target new system and the challenge is the difference between the structures of the two separate databases. Database Migration Testing will ensure that applications developed for data migration from legacy to new platforms work correctly and efficiently.

It is imperative for enterprises to consider the business risks involved with migrating data between two systems. Several aspects like physical and logical architecture of the database, security, functionality and performance should be tested. The security mechanisms can be quite different across two discrete databases. Hence, security must be ensured to allow only authorized users to have access to the database. Also, data migrated must be ensured for correctness and completeness, and must be validated upon completion of the migration.

While there evolved many database compatibility layers that support another DBMS's proprietary extensions natively, which would increase the speed of migrations, testing would normally remain the same and is still very critical. Quality assurance and testing specialists should be involved right from the starting stage of a data migration project, as even the type of legacy database can have an impact on the way data migration is carried out. Right from the analysis phase, test strategizing should be done and detailed test cases mush be developed, while continually refining them in the project. Apart from the application testing, performance and scalability testing of the application and database must be ensured that new levels meet the enterprise specific requirements. Overall, effective database migration testing using a mix to automation and manual methodologies can ensure performance, reliability, scalability, and availability.

 

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