Minimizing the Stress of Migrating MySQL to the Cloud

One of the tasks that a database team needs to be prepared to perform is a MySQL migration. In the deep, dark past of the early 21st Century, this would have involved moving a MySQL database from one server to another one located within your company’s data center. This might have been done to take advantage of better hardware with which to provide optimal service to the database’s end users. As the IT needs of a business change, systems are often shuffled around to make the best use of computing resources.

Besides enjoying the faster performance the main impact of migration on your database team is the requirement to use a different IP address to connect to the server hosting the databases they support. No big deal. The assumption would be that all tools and monitoring platforms in place before the migration will continue to function correctly. Once the dust settles, all is well in the world of your DBAs.

If your database team is called upon to engage in a MySQL migration tomorrow, chances are good that it involves the cloud in some way. The migration can be from your on-premises systems to a cloud provider. Your company may be moving its IT environment already hosted in the cloud to a different service. In some cases, a business may decide that the cloud was not the right move for a particular system and want to bring it back to their physical data center.

Let’s take a look at the challenges that you may face as a DBA when you are required to move a MySQL database around in the cloud.

Migrating a MySQL Database to a Cloud Provider

The popularity of MySQL demands that the major cloud providers include support for the database platform in their portfolio of services. Google, Amazon, Oracle, and Microsoft are some of the potential landing places for your cloud databases. There will necessarily be some specific steps that must be taken to migrate to a particular vendor, but there are many general database migration tips and procedures that will serve you well no matter which provider your company selects.

Preparation is the cornerstone of a successful MySQL migration. Preparing for migration can be broken down into two equally important components.

Understanding your environment

Before you embark on your migration journey, you need to fully understand all of the moving parts associated with the move. Failure to address this important aspect of your migration will negatively impact its chances of success. Here are some specific aspects of the system that need to be addressed before moving forward.

Database - It may seem obvious, but a deep understanding of the database being migrated is vitally important when commencing the process. Thorough knowledge regarding the size of the database and its tables and schemas is required. You also need to know if you have any unique data types in the schemas and if there are numerous large objects that may slow down the process.

Network - Migration requires data movement and your network is the highway over which your database’s information will travel. One very important detail to attend to is ensuring that the proper teams are involved to open firewall ports and configure routing to enable data flow. Your network’s available bandwidth is also a critical consideration that will determine if you can complete the migration in the required time frame.

Planning for the migration

You need to adequately plan for database migration. It’s not the kind of thing that you decide to do on a whim. Assuming that there has already been a discussion about the benefits of migrating and the provider that will host your database, you need to plan the details of the actual move itself.

The main factors to consider are the amount of time that the migration will take and the human resources who will perform the work. You want to be realistic in developing your timetable to ensure that all loose ends are addressed before proceeding. You also want to engage a team of your best people. The last thing you need is to have a migration fail because of technical inexperience.

Once the proper planning is finished and the system is fully understood you are ready to go ahead with the migration. Some potential pitfalls to be aware of include:

  • The complexity of your source data can complicate the migration process.
  • Data loss or corruption is possible during the migration process. You should use tools to validate the migrated data and reconcile details such as the number of records that are moved.
  • Inconsistent data quality can result from issues experienced while migrating. Data should be tested thoroughly and early in the process to ensure the data is valid before signing off on the success of the migration.

Ensuring Stability After Migration

We now fast-forward to the migration postmortem meetings. The process has been successfully performed and the database team is now settling in for the first day of administering their old acquaintance who now has a new address. Fortunately, the main tool they use to keep the database running smoothly has not changed at all.

SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL offers your DBAs the same level of functionality when monitoring their MySQL instances no matter where they are located. The real-time monitoring, configuration change tracking, and custom dashboards and charts work the same way whether the database is down the hall or somewhere in the cloud.

This removes one source of stress as your team can concentrate on identifying potential areas for optimization that are presented by the migration without the need to learn a new tool. Using SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL on both sides of your migration can be a big help in ensuring its success.

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