A common issue that affects many areas of the IT world is that things often do not go as smoothly as anticipated. Despite the best efforts that teams make at planning a system upgrade or migration, there is almost always a situation where Murphy’s Law comes into play. Something completely unexpected is bound to occur to disrupt your extensive plans, causing you to make adjustments on the fly.
It may seem like an oxymoron, but you need to be prepared for the unexpected. This might seem impossible at first glance, and you will never be able to fully cover every eventuality that you may face during a migration to a cloud platform. But there are precautions you can take that may bail you out if and when trouble rears its ugly head. I would suggest that anything that can help alleviate some of the uncertainty that accompanies a migration will be appreciated by the team tasked with performing the necessary activities.
What Type of Preparations Are Effective?
A cloud database migration may be considered a major activity for your organization and attract the attention of upper management who want to be kept apprised of its progress. The last thing a member of the database team performing the migration wants is to appear unprepared if issues crop up during the migration. You cannot prevent problems from happening, but you can have contingency plans in place that allow you to address them.
The first thing you should do when confronted with a cloud migration or any major IT activity is to develop a checklist of tasks that need to be performed before, during, and after to ensure its success. Creating viable checklists may involve communicating with other departments or reaching out for assistance within the team. Even if you create the checklist by yourself, it’s a good idea to get a second set of eyes on it to help identify anything you may have missed.
The list should contain as much detail as possible about the systems involved in the migration and the steps that need to be taken to protect the data resources being moved to the cloud. There are many aspects of a migration that can be affected by problems, and you should know going in how you will deal with all of them. Below are some areas that deserve serious attention.
Data security - Protecting the migrating data needs to be done as it moves to its new home as well as after it arrives. The data needs to be encrypted as it is physically transferred from the on-premises to cloud infrastructure. It is critically important that the permissions are set correctly on the target servers in the cloud, and the principle of least permission should be strictly followed. The cloud presents a new potential source of a data breach. Make sure that you have your data locked down from any unauthorized access.
Connectivity - A database migration can involve substantial amounts of data that need to be transferred between the source and target sites. Your plan needs to consider the available options if there are issues with your primary network connection. Are alternate routes available or could a network problem stop the migration dead in its tracks? You need to know the answers before the migration starts and build in redundancy where at all possible.
Performance - The ability to quickly address performance issues during and immediately following the migration takes planning and perhaps some training or education. You should be familiar with the procedures necessary to scale or resize cloud resources that may impact database performance. You don’t want your first experience performing these tasks to be during the migration.
Recoverability - If you need to recover the database due to unforeseen circumstances, you need to have backup media available and be prepared to use it. Pre-migration preparation should include tests of your backup and recovery procedures so there is no question that they can be carried out if necessary.
An IDERA Webcast that continues the discussion of handling problems that may be encountered during a cloud migration provides valuable information that can help you reach an acceptable outcome. It’s recommended viewing for teams preparing to move databases to the cloud.
Becoming Best Friends with Your Backup and Recovery Solution
When things go haywire during a SQL Server cloud migration, you may need to quickly become acquainted with your backup and recovery tool. A better idea is to be well-versed in its capabilities before embarking on your journey to the cloud. You probably don’t want to be performing your first restore while management is looking over your shoulder.
Using SQL Safe Backup as your backup and recovery solution offers your team a flexible and reliable method of restoring the SQL Servers involved in the migration. Multiple recovery options are available including point-in-time, object level, and instant recovery, that enable assets to be accessed more quickly than with traditional methods. Backups can be compressed to the appropriate degree for your situation and encrypted with minimal impact on the systems in scope.
SQL Safe Backup is compatible with enterprise storage systems such as Data Domain and TSM so SQL Server backups can be integrated with corporate retention policies. It’s an effective tool for all of your SQL Server backup and recovery needs and can be a lifesaver when things go wrong during a cloud migration.
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