Startup Tip – What I Would Have Wanted To Know About Data Migration

This is the last of a 3 part video series discussing software technologies and data migration. In part 1, I talked about selecting software technologies for your startup. In part 2, I talked about what to do if your existing software technology just isn’t good enough. In this video, I share what I would have wanted to know about data migration before refactoring our software to a new language and platform.


  • http://ratewindow.com Matt Dunlap

    ugh…data and databases. We are having trouble with different data storage models as we speak… I’d like to add to document everything becuase even if you might only migrate once, to have that docs on hand if you need to do it again will save so much time.

    in the last month, I’ve moved 3 times from cloud to cloud to cloud. luckily all the same (mysql)…

    Thanks Ross, another great vlog… BTW you look like the godfather in the poster in the upper right corner :)

  • http://www.rosskimbarovsky.com Ross

    Matt – great addition about documentation – very critical to migrating correctly and efficiently. We had a tough time getting our hands around the early migration work because it was not well documented. Good luck with your migration! (as for looking like the godfather…not Johnny Depp, but I’ll take it!)

  • Sharon Zaugh

    Good tip about getting users to test. While it’s easy for developers to give users a rigid list of test scenarios, it’s important to also let users “go off the ranch”. Different minds will find different defects.

    I also find it helpful to have a hardcopy of the data model handy. Mine is a four-page taped together Sybase doc. It travels with me always!

  • http://www.rosskimbarovsky.com Ross

    Sharon – absolutely true. We did our best to anticipate unusual user behavior in our internal testing scripts, but our users outshined us by doing things we couldn’t predict. A key part of testing…

    True also about having a copy of the data model handy. I can’t say ours travels with us always, but it’s never far away. :)

  • http://www.startasocialnetwork.com/ Ric Mazereeuw

    Ross, great advice, and I wish I’d had it a while back.
    I was blown away by the complexity and challenges while exploring a data migration from a jsp legacy platform to new php one I was considering last year. While both sites seemed to offer the same functionality to the user, the way each platform structured and used the data (including security processes) was very different.

  • http://www.rosskimbarovsky.com Ross

    Ric – very true. That’s precisely the challenge we had when we migrated from PHP to Python. We also completely revised our data model, so that contributed to the complexity. When we first modeled migration, we were going to convert in one step, but later, decided we would move the data into neutral tables and then import from there – that step really helped us to focus and reduce errors.

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