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With the rise of the cloud, data migrations – and specifically, cloud migrations – have become (and, for that matter, are still becoming) increasingly important to many organisations. The benefits of the cloud are well known, so I shan’t bother going over them here, but suffice it to say that many businesses see serious potential there, especially in regards to the hybrid- and/or multi-cloud setups that are proving particularly popular.
But really, this is just the most recent incarnation of a much older trend: the desire for organisations to modernise their IT infrastructure. Which isn’t to diminish the relevancy or usefulness of the cloud, but rather to appropriately contextualise data modernisation in a, well, modern setting. In a very real sense, data modernisation as it is usually used acts as a necessary precursor to cloud migration, consisting of getting your system in order so that it can be migrated to the cloud when applicable and work well with your cloud systems otherwise.
At the end of the day, I suppose what I’m saying is that in 2022, most data modernisation efforts will incorporate cloud migrations in one way or another, and vice versa, and that therefore we need to treat the two areas, although principally separate, as interlinked.
But for our purposes the above is really just scene-setting to help frame the contributions that a particular data management vendor perennially involved in legacy “lift and shift” work is making in data migration and modernisation projects today – specifically, IRI.
As established, migration and modernisation efforts often form part of the same overarching operation, so it makes sense to discuss both at once. Viewing cloud migrations, data migrations and data modernisation as increasingly large nested categories also helps to establish the company’s bona fides, particularly in the former area. After all, IRI got its start facilitating mainframe migrations in the late 1970s. It thus has a long and storied lineage in data migration and modernisation, including data type and file format conversions as well as ETL operations.
Today IRI offers several products and tools to assist with migration (and therefore modernisation) efforts. For starters, there’s IRI NextForm, the company’s dedicated data, file and database migration offering. This is assisted by IRI Workbench, the Eclipse job design front-end for NextForm in particular as well as IRI as a whole, including other structured data processing jobs that involve data mapping by type, format, database, and so on. NextForm, as well as various other IRI offerings – namely CoSort, FieldShield, RowGen, and the Voracity platform that includes them – are empowered by SortCL, the fourth-generation data processing language (in other words, the 4GL) that underpins them. SortCL can also perform and combine data transformation, validation, cleansing, masking, subsetting, reformatting, and reporting, among other things.
Moreover, the Voracity platform now includes a Data Type Mapping wizard to help resolve discrepancies between database data types, as well with SortCL internal type declarations. These maps are useful in multiple job wizards available in Voracity, including database migration, database subsetting, data integration/ETL, test data generation, and multi-table masking (when using different source and target databases).
IRI Ripcurrent is another new feature in Voracity: a real-time database event processing module that offers incremental data replication by detecting and acting on changes to relational database tables in real-time. This works by monitoring log events for inserts, updates, deletes and schema structural changes, then mapping the data on-the-fly and/or issuing alerts.
Transformations (such as masking) are optionally available, and are applied consistently. This allows you to keep downstream and upstream data sources in sync with one another, essentially allowing you to ingest data in one location and operate on it in another – handy for, say, building a centralised querying environment. Ripcurrent accomplishes this by integrating with Debezium, an open-source platform for change data capture. Also note that Ripcurrent only takes action when data in a watched database is modified, deleted, or added, though it still monitors and records other database events.
Finally, IRI now offers an alternate front-end for Voracity via API- and metadata-level integration with the DataSwitch data engineering and modernisation platform. The idea is to leverage the latter’s no-code web interface, complete with (among other things) AI capabilities, in order to provide a somewhat less technical and more accessible alternative to IRI Workbench that still leverages all of Voracity’s most powerful back-end data integration, modernisation and governance capabilities.
This means that the two individually powerful front- and back-end technology stacks can be combined for use by business and technical users alike to easily and rapidly action data management tasks, including data migrations. Moreover, this combination promises to lead to self-service data management, the democratisation of data, and greater efficiency for data tasks in general.