According to research conducted by Bloor Research industry currently spends in excess of $5bn per annum on data migration, including software, services, consulting and so forth. Yet there is no market for data migration per se. Nor is it recognised as an independent discipline within data management. Indeed, the tasks required in data migration are typically treated as being just a part of what you need to do when migrating, implementing or upgrading application software.
These application projects frequently overrun their budgets, get delayed or, in extreme circumstances, get cancelled. We believe that a major reason behind these failures is precisely because the techniques and disciplines of data migration are not treated seriously enough or are not well enough understood. This is supported by our research, which indicates that more than 60% of data migration projects have overruns on time and/or budget.
In our view it is time to reverse this situation. It is time for data migration to be recognised as a discipline it is own right and for its exponents to get due credit when their job is well done. It is time for data migration to be treated as a major component, with its own requirements, within larger application projects rather than as an afterthought.
This paper is not supposed to be a how-to guide for data migration. Such can be found in John Morris’ "Practical Data Migration" published by the British Computer Society. What it is intended to do is to highlight the major issues involved in data migration. We hope that an understanding of the complexities involved will help readers to understand why we believe that data migration, and the people who do it, need to have their status elevated. At the least, we hope that the issues involved in data migration will be taken more seriously, especially in the planning stages of broader application projects.