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Why Migrating a Database to the Cloud is Like a Heart Transplant

cloud migration
Credit: Aleskei Gorodenkov

Over the past few years, plenty of organizations have increased their footprint in the cloud and looked to otherwise modernize their IT infrastructure, accelerated by the catalyst of COVID impacts. But migrating databases from an on-premises implementation to a native-cloud implementation can pose a number of challenges that could stall organizations from pulling the trigger on such a move. However, today’s era of cloud and infrastructure modernization is piling on the pressure to complete these migrations now more than ever.

If your organization is preparing for such a project, there are many factors to consider and much planning required.

“Migrating a database is like doing a heart transplant,” said Ramke Ramakrishnan, a senior director analyst at Gartner, during his presentation at the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit in Orlando this week. Databases are connected to so many applications, and they are likely running the lifeblood of the organization through them every day.

The Trouble with Database Migration

For the uninitiated, the database migration project may seem simple. After all, you are just migrating database objects from one database to another. Vendors provide migration tools to allow you to complete the work with a few clicks.

But when you start doing your due diligence on the project, you will see what it really entails, according to Ramakrishnan. One of the biggest changes will be with SQL semantics that are so familiar to the users of traditional databases, like Oracle or SQL. There are complex triggers, packages, and procedures.

“When you look at the similar migration in the cloud, many of the databases don’t support the robust SQL packages you may have,” Ramakrishnan said. Instead, you may need to use Javascripts or Spark-based processes.

“It’s really like a heart transplant because you have to look into each piece,” he said.

Another reason why you may not want to follow a “lift and shift” strategy for database migration from on-premises to the cloud is because the cloud provides data storage alternatives you may not have had available to you in your traditional database.

Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek.