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Data Migration is a Black Hole

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The “Weekly Rant” column was featured in the PC Mechanic Newsletter since 2005. Topics relate to some aspect of technology, which include opinions on hardware, software, new technology, technology companies, and computing standards.

I’m not sure how many of you are developers or have had new systems designed for you, but there’s one topic that you’d probably like to avoid if you can: data migration–taking the data from the old system and converting to a new system.  One fellow designer I know has always said that while it may take him maybe a month or so to get a fully functional system up and running from scratch, data migration can take almost any amount of time from two weeks to several months.  Why?  The complexity of the old system, how it was designed (well or poorly), and the amount of data.  If you can, it’s easier to do without the migration and start fresh.  But in most instances, this isn’t possible.  It just needs to be done.

So, it’s best to set it apart from the design of the project since it can be a project within itself.  After all, data migration is a black hole because of all the time and money that gets sucked into it, so you’d better make sure you need that data to begin with.

(Originally published in the newsletter)