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What is SAP Data Migration (Detailed Guide) | Process, Types, Tools, Strategy etc.

The means of transferring data from one system to another is known as data migration. While this may appear to be a simple adjustment, it entails a change in storage as well as a database or application. However, the ‘transfer’ of data is not the primary part of the data migration technique. The migration process will contain mappings and transformations between the source and target data if the data is heterogeneous. This is not to say that data migration and integration may be utilised interchangeably. To achieve a successful deployment with no data loss, data quality must be verified prior to migration. The diversity, amount, and quality of data moved and the data migration software that makes it all possible determine the success rate of every data migration project.


Difference Between Data Migration, Data Conversion, and Data Integration:

It is significant to note that SAP Data migration is not the same as data conversion or data integration.

  • Data Migration: Data transfer across storage devices, locations, or systems. Quality assurance, data cleaning, validation, and profiling are subgroups of data migration. ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) is the process used for data conversion.
  • Data Conversion: Data is transformed from a legacy application to a new or upgraded application. The ‘T’ in ETL stands for Transform and corresponds to data conversion.
  • Data Integration: Combines stored data from several platforms to provide a uniform perspective and global analytics.


When Is Data Migration Required?

Data migration often occurs after an update of current hardware, a transfer to a completely new system, or situations such as application replacements, business process changes, data volume expansion, or the requirement for improved performance. SAP Data migration happens for various reasons, but the most common is to improve the effectiveness and competitiveness of your IT operations and your broader business. Data that is better structured can be utilised more efficiently. Data held in a single location in a single format reduces the need for — and expense of — various systems and hardware. On the other hand, poorly conducted data migrations might potentially have serious effects. As a result, erroneous data, redundancies, and other difficulties may arise that must be addressed after the fact. A bad data transfer effort might even destroy accurate, well-structured, and organised data.


Types of Data Migration

  • Database Migration: The process of moving data between two database systems is known as database migration. Database migration modifies data without altering its structure. It may impact the data language or protocol at the same time as the original data moves. The modification is also reflected in the application layer. Database migration involves meticulous planning and testing because the procedure entails several minor activities such as determining target database storage capacity, examining applications, and ensuring data security.

NOTE: SAP ECC can run on third party databases too, whereas SAP S/4 HANA can only run on SAP HANA database. So, if your SAP ECC system is running on a third party database like Oracle, IBM, etc., then a migration from SAP ECC to SAP S/4 HANA would also mean a database migration along with system migration.

  • Storage Migration: Storage migration is the process of moving data from one storage medium to another, such as a hard drive or the cloud. Simply said, data is transferred from one storage media to another. It is straightforward to incorporate data protection elements such as data validation, cloning, and eliminating inaccurate or obsolete information throughout this procedure. SAP Data migration is an excellent chance to take advantage of technological advancements. Moving data to new technology may be appealing when new technology becomes available. The appeal stems from the new format’s versatility, low cost, or ease of access and use.
  • Cloud Migration: Shifting to the cloud allows for scalability, takes less storage space, and is less expensive. As a result, cloud migration is one of the more recent developments in the data management business. An entity’s properties, software, or services are moved to the cloud. The cloud’s firewall safeguards the data being moved. Moving SAP ECC or SAP S/4 HANA to SAP S/4 HANA Cloud is one such example. SAP S/4 HANA Cloud ensures that you enjoy most of the on-premise functionalities and not worry about the maintenance of hardware, databases, etc.
  • Application Migration: When a corporation switches from one framework to another system or provider, this form of data migration occurs. Every application has its very own data model, and the programmes are not transferable. Each application’s operating systems, virtual machine configurations, and administration tools may change during the development and implementation phase. It is critical to guarantee that data can be exchanged between the two pieces of software. Because each application may have its own data model, that data format must be planned with care. After all, an application is only as strong as the data it contains.


Types of Data Migration Tools

When moving your data, there are three main types of data migration tools to consider:

  • On-premises Tools: On-premise services are meant to transfer data between two or more servers or databases within a big or medium enterprise/network without moving data to the cloud. Due to security concerns, some businesses prefer on-premise solutions. These solutions are appropriate if you are conducting operations like shifting data warehouses or transferring your major data storage location, or simply bringing together data from diverse sources on-premise.
  • Open-source Tools: Because its design is publicly accessible, open-source software may be used, modified, and shared. Open source solutions are typically free or less expensive than commercial options. However, to work with open source, though, you may require some coding expertise. Commercial products are sometimes based on open source products and/ or provide a restricted open-source version for download.
  • Cloud-based Tools: Cloud-based data migration solutions are the most recent generation, and they are intended to migrate data to the cloud from an on-premise store, an application or stream, or another cloud-based store. Many businesses perceive cost savings and enhanced security in migrating data from on-premise to the cloud and require a SAP data migration solution to assist with this process. Cloud-based solutions are ideal if you already save your data on the cloud or plan to do so in the future. Furthermore, cloud-based data transfer technologies are quite adaptable regarding the sorts of data they can manage.


Things to Keep in Mind While Selecting a Data Migration Tool:

The most critical aspect of any data migration endeavour is proper planning, which should involve consideration of data sources and destinations, cost, and security. Your requirements primarily determine the appropriate data transfer technology. Moreover, the ETL capabilities of your chosen tool in addition to the resources with the right expertise contribute heavily in planning the migration of data. Many fantastic data migration technologies are available, but they won’t help you if they don’t match your company’s specific needs. Here are a few things to ponder upon to help you pick the best tool for you.

  • Security: Is any of the information you’re moving sensitive? If you wish to move sensitive data, you must adhere to regulatory requirements, which might be challenging to support during the conversion process. SAP Data migration technologies may be required to fulfil security and compliance standards. Although many are SOC 2, HIPAA, GDPR, and other governance requirements compliant, this may rule out certain cloud-based solutions. On-premise solutions are dependent on the entire security of your system. And the security of open-source software might vary considerably.
  • Cost: Is expense the number one priority? Opting for open source tools can be free or much less expensive than commercial alternatives if you have the necessary competence. Using a cloud-based data transfer solution may save you a substantial amount of money on infrastructure and people, allowing you to free up resources for other initiatives.
  • Performance: Cloud-based migration solutions operate excellently. Because they are constrained by the hardware on which they run, on-premises tools cannot automatically scale up and down as needed. Cloud computing and storage capacity may be scaled to suit the needs of dynamic data transfer.
  • Data Quality: According to a recent article by Dylan Jones on Data Quality Pro, data quality concerns are one of the primary causes for the high failure rate of data migration operations. In order to take advantage of SAP HANA’s performance and decision-making capabilities, migrating from SAP ECC to SAP S/4 HANA is the perfect move. But what good is the migration if the data quality is not up to the mark? We’d eventually fall into the never ending loop of ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’.


Challenges of Data Migration:

  • Poor knowledge of legacy data: It’s all too easy to become comfortable and believe that your data can be readily set into the parameters of a new system, but the truth may result in crucial failures when it comes to user approval. This knowledge gap includes being unaware of data errors such as duplication, missing information, misspellings, and incorrect data.
  • Poorly Integrated Processes: Data migrations often require a diverse group of individuals utilising a diverse range of technologies. A typical example is the use of spreadsheets to define data requirements, which is prone to human error and is difficult to translate when analysing data or executing data transformations. Using divergent technologies might result in data and design failures during the analysis, development, testing, and implementation phases. Things can be lost in translation, resulting in additional expenditures and lost time.
  • Lack of Backup Plan: One of the most common  SAP data migration failures is the lack of a backup strategy for anticipated interruptions. You must approach data migration as if you were transferring large quantities of money to a different bank or financial organisation. Data is extremely essential to any organisation; thus possible failure points must be identified and a contingency action plan implemented.

Moving your valuables from one household to another is analogous to data migration. You must exercise tremendous caution to ensure that your most valued things — data in this example — arrive safely at their destination. Creating a data migration plan, using the correct technology, and finding competent partners are all critical components to ensuring that your project runs successfully and your data arrives safely in its new home.

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