Best Practices for Migrating Oracle Databases to the Cloud

eWEEK DATA POINTS RESOURCE PAGE: This is a complex migration that, if not done properly, can have a significant negative impact on a business.

An increasing number of enterprises want to move their in-house Oracle databases to the cloud. However, this is a complex migration that, if not done properly, can have a significant negative impact on a business. As a result, it should not be taken lightly; planning and preparation are very important.

Today, a number of factors are leading enterprises to move their in-house Oracle database to the cloud: You can’t escape the issues with in-house system deployments: the infrastructure management is time consuming, there is frequent large capital expense, there is a lack of adaptability, a lack of elasticity and inability to execute quickly and meet the demands of the business.

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In the 2019 “State of Partnering Study” from PartnerPath, Gartner and IDC Research both indicate that public and private cloud solution spending is growing; both firms also expect aggressive growth by 2021.

While this type of growth is an important trend, cloud migration is a significant project that needs to be done correctly, or it could negatively impact not only the IT system but business operations and performance as well. The migration needs to work smoothly, with minimal interruptions in application availability and performance.

This eWEEK Data Points article, using industry information from Jim Ball, Chief Strategy Officer at clckwrk, an RDX company, offers five best practices to consider before an enterprise begins a cloud migration project.

Data Point No. 1: Evaluate the Skills and Experience of Your Internal Team

These would not only include Oracle skills, but also the skills on the cloud platform to which you are moving. These can be difficult to find, and it takes time to develop them internally. As a result, it is rare for organizations to have these skillsets readily available, so you may need to bring in outside support to give you the full set of talent and experience that is needed to evaluate, plan and take on the project.

Also, look at the current workloads of your team. People tasked with doing a migration usually have other responsibilities that can lead to other projects being delayed or potentially not the appropriate level of focus on the migration effort. These issues can lead to hidden costs and need to be considered ahead of time.

Data Point No. 2: Conduct an Assessment of Your Current Environment

Take a close look at how your applications are used, the number of users and the metrics that are required to fully understand your migration path. You need to do a thorough enough assessment to identify the biggest risks and get those out in the open. Then, you can use the proof of concept phase as a tool to work through those risks.

On another note, assessments can be a challenge because many Oracle systems have been in place for several years, and the people who built them may have left the company years ago, which can burden migrations with an enormous amount of “technical debt.” 

Data Point No. 3: Build a Strong Proof-of-Concept

As noted above, the proof-of-concept phase allows you to work through the riskiest areas of a project in order to minimize those risks. Developing a proof-of-concept requires a thorough understanding of the target cloud environment and how the different features and capabilities can be used to support the Oracle implementation.

Data Point No. 4: Determine the Right Tools for the Job

Cloud providers offer tools and services to assist with migrations, including AWS Migration Services and Azure Migrate. However, these services are often not comprehensive enough for Oracle implementations, particularly if multi-cloud strategies are utilized.

For more demanding migrations, there are also Oracle migration templates and images from cloud consulting organizations that you can use. Be sure to evaluate and test tools in advance to know what works best for your particular situation (and the skills and needs of your team). Also, have them purchased and ready to go early in the planning process.

Data Point No. 5: Test, Test and Test Again

Cloud infrastructure and every component, person and process involved with the migration must be tested to ensure a successful outcome. Beyond testing the technology, it is important to test the sequence of events and the people who will execute those events. This should be a top priority, as it will help you to avoid issues such as database errors, an application or website crash, or server failure.

Data Point No. 6: Develop a Well-Defined Cutover Plan

A comprehensive and detailed plan for cutting over to the new cloud is important to have in order to avoid business disruption. Establish a task list, as well as any dependencies that may affect certain items. In the plan, determine the order in which you want to migrate services. Maybe the services with the fewest dependencies should be moved first? Also, a detailed timeline of when things will happen can help to minimize surprises.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...