What is Data Migration Testing?
Data is the key element for any business. As your business grows, shifts direction, and adapts, so does your data. These changes may have you looking into new options for servers to host your database, but not all servers are created the same. This transfer, or migration of data, is an important process for a growing business, and needs to be managed properly.
This post will be a guide to help answer the following questions you may have about data migration:
- What is data migration testing?
- Why do data migration testing?
- When is data migration testing required?
- Is data migration testing difficult?
- Where can you get help with data migration testing?
What is Data Migration Testing?
Data migration testing is the process of migration from a legacy system to a new system. Testing is done to compare the legacy data to the migrated data to find any potential disruption during the migration.
Some of the different types of migration testing include:
- Database migration - the transfer of data from one database to a new database.
- Application migration - the transfer of data from one platform to a new platform.
- OS migration - transferring from one operating system, to a new operating system.
- Server migration - the transfer of data from the legacy server, to a new server.
This process will need to be accomplished with minimal disruption while ensuring no data is lost. Post-migration, all functional and non-functional uses of the application will need to be met in order to avoid any potential negative impact to your business, the ability to access your data, and your user experience.
Why Do Data Migration Testing?
As your organization adapts and changes processes to meet your current demand—like shifting to a cloud-based server—potential inconsistencies may arise when migrating data to this new server. These potential risks are a result of migration error, and so these tests are conducted to minimize those risks. Some of the risks that are tested for include:
- Downtime - Keeping downtime low is critical as you consider the needs of your clients and keep your business operating. By testing beforehand, you can minimize the risk of potential downtime and any disruptions to your business.
- Change in functionality - As you switch to a new system, you want the process and user experience to remain unchanged. Migration testing allows you to debug any potential changes to the functionality of the new system.
- Glitches during the migration process - Sometimes the migration process results in glitches that could impact your data. Catching these beforehand with data migration testing will ensure that your data will transfer seamlessly from your legacy server to your new server.
With these risks, testing is done beforehand to ensure a smooth migration and is vital to protect the data that your business relies on to operate.
When is Data Migration Testing Required?
We recommend that testing is performed before, during, and after migration—something we can help with. Testing at each of these points allows us to check for any potential issues with your data migration.
When migrating from a legacy system to a new system, changes will be part of the process. These modifications could impact the server, front end, data flow, or functionality. After providing a complete review of both the legacy and new system, we design specific tests and scenarios to cover all parts of testing and we prepare the testing strategy.
If you’re considering migrating your data, you’ll need to conduct testing beforehand. Some common reasons businesses will move forward with a data migration include:
- Limited access to data or analytics
- Recent merger or acquisition
- Excessive TCO
- Outgrowing storage system
- Consolidating IT infrastructure
- Data inaccuracy concerns
- Moving to a cloud-based system
Our preparation beforehand will reduce any headaches as you migrate your data to its new system.
Phases of Data Migration Testing
There are three phases of migration. In addition to the three data migration phases, additional tests are done to ensure the reliability of the system in the case of a migration failure.
- Pre-mMigration testing
Before starting the process of migrating data, tests are performed to better understand the function of the legacy system. It will also allow us to:
- Better understand what data to include and exclude.
- Perform data mapping between the legacy system and the new system.
- Understand which fields are necessary and unnecessary to both systems and properly account for the data in both instances.
- Study the data for the new system.
- Prepare tests, scenarios and use different scenarios in the new application.
These initial steps are key to making sure the data in both systems are understood and are made to be compatible. After pre-migration testing is completed, we will begin testing the actual migration.
- Migration testing
Before beginning migration testing, a backup of the legacy server and data will be saved. Then, migration testing will begin. This phase tests:
- The actual migration process.
- Modifications to software, hardware, firewalls, etc.
- Security checks and their completion.
- The functionality, connectivity, and review of the system.
Once this is completed, a review of the data is done to make sure the migration is successful and the data was transferred from the legacy system to the new system. At this point, any changes in data, security, or functionality on the new system are made. Once a successful migration test is completed with no issues, then we move to post-migration testing.
- Post-migration testing
After completing migration, the testing environment will conduct a complete test of the system. These tests compare both the legacy and new system to ensure the migration was successful. Some of the key items that are tested in this phase are:
- Ensuring the migration was able to be completed within the specified downtime to minimize any inconvenience to users.
- Making sure all data fields in the new system are updated.
- A comparison of data values between the new system and the legacy system.
- A review of database security.
- A check for data redundancy and mismatches. Any data that repeats, or may have changed, will have an impact on the new system and needs to be corrected.
- Ensuring any data that is written specifically for the new system does not reflect in the legacy system.
- Verifying users on the legacy system still have access to all accounts, databases, etc. on the new system without interruption to user experience.
- Load and stress tests on the new system are completed to make sure it is able to handle maximum capacity.
- Testing front-end user interface to allow for a minimum disruption to user experience.
Once the three phases of the migration testing are completed, the next step is testing backwards compatibility. This will make sure the new system and legacy system are able to function as they are supposed to.
Backwards compatibility will ensure the system is compatible with the last two versions, in addition to the new one. This is also done to test that the previous two versions can be migrated without any potential disruptions to the front-end system.
In addition to testing backwards compatibility, rollback testing is completed. This test is done to make sure that the system can be rolled back to the legacy system in case of any issues or failures during data migration. So, in addition to testing the data migration, the rollback system will need to be tested as a failsafe.
Is Data Migration Testing Difficult?
Data migration tests are difficult. Conducting comprehensive testing requires time, effort, and resources. Fortunately for you, our team at Q90 are experts in data migration testing and strive to provide a seamless process.
There are a number of challenges that arise when migrating data, and by identifying those issues beforehand you will avoid any disruption to your business. These challenges include:
- Identifying Sources of Data
- Your data comes from many sources. Identifying where that is coming from and where it needs to go is key in creating a smooth migration process
- Incompatibility of Systems
- As you transfer your data from the legacy system to the new system, there will be changes to how the system writes, reads, and stores that data. Catching any inconsistencies due to system incompatibility is vital.
- Volume of Data
- It may be years since you last did a review of the data in your system. Years of compiling data may result in duplicate data, incomplete data, or a lack of quality data. Transferring any non-relevant data would take additional time when you ultimately decide to migrate your data. Reviewing it beforehand and making any corrections will prevent any errors.
- Amount of time it takes to migrate data
- It is very likely that the data your company relies on has been compounded over years. It will take time to migrate that data to the new system.
- Lack of oversight
- Minimal oversight of your data can lead to quality issues, or security risks due to missing, or incomplete data.
- Minimal Documentation
- A lack of documentation can make it difficult to understand your data and how it needs to be migrated. One solution is to work with those who created your legacy system to get a better understanding of the legacy system.
- Simulating a real-time environment
- After transferring systems, your data and system will need to function. In order to test the functionality of the system, we will simulate a real-time environment to ensure the user interface remains unchanged and without disruption. We will also make sure that all user profiles, data, passwords, etc. are transferred correctly so users can access their accounts seamlessly.
- Complex Data
- Unwinding complex data structures is a difficult and lengthy process and can be a problem when migrate data system-to-system as the complex data may not fit into the new system. Understanding the data structure of your legacy and new system will help improve this.
- Incomplete Data
- This can happen because of human error. To fix this, it is vital to have a complete and accurate data set before the migration process.
- Lack of Quality Data
- If there is missing, or non-functioning data on your legacy system, it could lead to potential issues when migrating to your new system.
We will work with you to create a plan, test and review the data, compare it to the original data set, and create a plan to complete your data migration.
Where Can You Get Help with Data Migration Testing?
Our team at Q90 can help you every step of the way. Our team of experts specialize in data migration and data migration testing. We would love to help you work towards growing your business and your changing data needs.
We understand how important data is to your business, and will work with you to minimize any disruption to your data and help you as you transition from your legacy system to a new, functional system.
Are you ready to see if data migration is right for you? We would be happy to help you with your data migration and to provide you with the necessary testing to make sure your data is protected. Contact our team at Q90 today to get started.