Data migration is an essential process in many professional and personal environments. In order to ensure the accuracy and integrity of data, it's important to use a reliable set of data migration tools. Fortunately, there are a variety of software solutions on the market that make transferring data from one platform to another significantly easier and more streamlined. In this article, we'll explore some of the best data migration tools available today so you can better understand how they can help streamline your data transfer needs.
What is Data Migration?
Data Migration is an important part of the Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) process and involves at least the load and transform steps. The data first needs to go through a process of preparation which can involve data cleansing, formatting changes or data enrichment techniques. Once this step is complete, the data can be loaded into a target location such as a database or data warehouse so it can be easily accessed by Data Scientists and Analysts.
Data Migration is an essential process with a common goal: to boost business performance and capability. By way of transferring data from one source to another, companies can enrich their practices and stay ahead of the competition. But it's important to remember that Data Migration does not guarantee error-free results; sometimes even despite comprehensive checking of the original data, mistakes slip through and inaccuracy repopulates the target location. To be successful, a margin for error must be accounted for and contingencies built into a plan before the migration process is begun. If these steps are undertaken responsibly, Data Migration becomes a powerful tool for success.
What are data migration tools ?
Data migration tools are software applications that help you move data from one data source to another. They can be used to migrate data from an outdated system to a new one, or to move data between different systems. Data migration tools can also help you manage and secure your data. They do this by extracting, preparing, transforming, cleaning, and loading data in order to make sure that its format is appropriate for its new storage place.
Data migration can be a complex and time-consuming process, but using the right data migration tools can make it easier and faster. Automated data migration tools can streamline the migration process, provide easy-to-use interfaces, and offer additional capabilities that can make the migration process more seamless.
Types of Data Migration Tools
Organizations who have smaller scale data migration projects have the option of self-scripting their data migrations. This is a viable solution, typically requiring less investment in tools, but can become labour-intensive and time consuming if the project grows beyond its original scope. Large scale projects are often best suited for cloud-based or on-premises Data Migration Tools. Let’s take a look of each of these options.
1. Self Scripted
If the project is a small one, self-scripted data migration can be an efficient way to tackle data migration. This “do-it-yourself”, in-house solution unfortunately doesn’t scale very well. Usually, this type of approach uses a script which extracts data into an intermediary file which is then either read line-by-line and loaded into the target system. Sometimes this file may be ingested through a process on the target system like loading through a CSV process.
Unlike the self-scripted data migration tool, these are designed to migrate data within the network of a large or medium enterprise installation. On-premise tools for data migration are abundant and easily accessible.
Cloud-based data migration tools may be a better choice for organizations moving data from various sources and streams, including on-premise and cloud-based data stores to a cloud-based destination.
Factors that Drive Data Migration Tools
Earlier, I said the goal of data migration is generally done to enhance performance, increase competitiveness, and to modernize existing systems. However, in order for these benefits to be full seen, it has to be done right. So many companies have had failed migration strategies and an abundance of horror stories often circulate within the technical sphere. Much of the time the failure revolves around the fact that many of the new systems fail to meet expectations.
A complete and accurate data migration strategy ensures business continuity and data integrity. A robust migration plan looks to lower costs, reduce manual effort, and helps prevent incomplete execution of the migration. All of these reasons are common scenarios that cause migration projects to fail altogether or fall short of their potential.
Therefore, selecting the right data migration tool becomes an imperative decision for the success of the project. Each decision to use a specific tool will depend on the company's needs and goals. Below are a few factors you should consider when choosing a data migration service or tool:
1. Pricing: It's important to start with a look at your budget and the pricing factor for each tool. This will give you an idea of which tools are applicable or not within your projected budget. This is key in figuring out if you are financially able to acquire good data migration tools.
Basically, there are a few ways to go about understanding the overall price for the migration. Firstly, you can choose to go with open source tools. These are usually on the lower end of cost but, to use them effectively you'd need the right expertise to act as a glue for the whole operation. Licensing costs may be minimal but you will need to prepare for training and labor costs. Another way would be to use cloud-based migration tools and services. This could save you significant amounts on infrastructure and labor costs and expedite the timeline. This approach can help to free up resources for other projects.
2. Performance and Scalability: There's only one solution for this factor that is truly easy and cost-effective. That solutions is to use cloud-based tools and services. The storage ability of the cloud allows it to be able to scale up and down depending on the workload. The scalability of these platforms is built into the fabric of the tools and services they offer, essentially giving unlimited compute and storage resources.
By using a cloud environment, the performance and scalability automatically trumps on-premise tools. On-premise tools lack the ability to scale due to being limited by the hardware on which they run. In order for an on-premise tools to scale, hardware, including additional memory and storage, must be added to the server. Alternatively, complete servers may be added to the installation as well. This can be very cost intensive, require downtime, and only allows for scaling upwards and doesn’t provide the ability to easily scale down as needed.
3. Location: This is another important factor when considering data migration tools. You have to consider whether you want to migrate data from:
- On-premise to on-premise
- On-premise to the cloud
- One cloud to another cloud
Depending on the location that you’ll be executing the migration on, certain tools may or may not be applicable. For instance, most on-premise tools can be deployed on the cloud as well. However, most tools provided on cloud platforms are only available on the cloud and some may also only be available on specific cloud platforms.
4. Reliability: How reliable you can tolerate for the data migration tool you’ll be using? Cloud-based data migration tools are tend to be better than on-premise tools since they can easily achieve close to 100% uptime. This is due to a cloud environments ability to easily offer highly redundant architectures. If uptime is high, the chances of a data migration failing in the middle of the transfer.
4. Security: During data migration, the tools you use have to be subjected to security and compliance requirements. Data should be encrypted both in-flight and at-rest. Most cloud data migration solutions and service offer enterprise-grade security by default. At times, this can be limiting if your organization needs to adhere to some security standard that is not supported by the cloud provider.
On-premise solutions must be configured to be secure. This potentially makes on-premise systems less secure since they depend on the security of your overall infrastructure, which could be misconfigured. Even with this possibility, certain security and compliance standards are more straightforward to achieve with an on-premise deployment. HIPAA or PCI compliance, for instance, can sometimes be easier to achieve with an on-premise deployment.
10 Best Data Migration Tools
We have made a thorough research and made a list the 19 best data migration tools of 2023. Let's have a look on them.
- AWS Data Migration
- IBM Informix
- Azure DocumentDB
- DBconvert Studio
Arcion was designed from the ground up to help organizations power their most complex and advanced data migration use cases. We have developed a revolutionary zero-code solution that enables enterprises to deploy high-performance and high-volume data pipelines in minutes, instead of months. Whether you require an on-premise or cloud-based self-managed deployment, prefer a SaaS-based solution, or want to adopt a hybrid solution, Arcion can handle the job. Arcion offers both Arcion Self-Managed (free download with 30-day free trial, no payment info required) and Arcion Cloud (14-day free trial, no payment info required) to serve all of your needs. Both of these options offer reliable data migration, all with zero downtime.
Here are a few unique advantages offered by Arcion to achieve zero downtime database migration:
- At Arcion, we have a library of pre-built connectors that includes OLTP databases (e.g., Oracle, IBM DB2, SAP, SQL Server, etc.), data warehouses (e.g., Oracle Exadata/RAC, SAP IQ, SAP Hana, etc.), and cloud analytic platforms (e.g., Databricks, Snowflake, SingleStore, etc.).
- Distributed & highly scalable architecture (patent-pending technology): many other existing CDC solutions don’t scale for high-volume, high-velocity data, resulting in slow pipelines, slow delivery to the target systems. Arcion is the only end-to-end multi-threaded CDC solution on the market that auto-scales vertically & horizontally. Any process that Arcion runs on Source & Target is parallelized using patent-pending techniques to achieve maximum throughput. There isn’t a single step within the pipeline that is single threaded. It gives Arcion users ultra low latency CDC replication and can always keep up with the forever increasing data volume on Source.
- Built-in high availability (HA): Arcion is designed with high availability built-in. It makes the pipeline robust without disruption and data always available in the target, in real-time.
- Auto-recovery (patent-pending technology): Internally, Arcion does a lot of check-pointing. Therefore, any time the process gets killed for any reason (e.g., database, disk, network, server crashes), it resumes from the point where it was left off, instead of restarting from scratch. The entire process is highly optimized with a novel design that makes the recovery extremely fast.
- Automatic schema conversion & schema evolution support: Arcion handles schema changes out-of-the-box requiring no user intervention. This helps mitigate data loss and eliminate downtime caused by pipeline-breaking schema changes by intercepting changes in the source database and propagating them while ensuring compatibility with the target's schema evolution. Other alternative solutions would reload (re-do the initial load) the data when there is a schema change in the source databases, which causes pipeline downtime and requires a lot of compute resources (expensive!).
2. AWS Data Migration Service
AWS Data Migration Service (DMS) is a database migration service that is owned by Amazon with the primary goal of migrating databases to AWS in a secure and reliable manner. Another important part of the AWS migration tooling is the AWS glue. AWS Glue is a serverless data integration service that makes it easy to discover, prepare, and combine data for analytics, machine learning, and application development.
- AWS data pipeline allows you to create a pipeline graphically through a console using the AWS Command Line Interface (CLI).
- It allows the source database to keep on running throughout the migration process
- It is a popular tool and it is always available, this has made it an ideal solution for continuous data migrations
- It reduces the time for an application to run
According to the Amazon Web Service website, AWS Data Migration Service is billed based on how often your activities and preconditions are scheduled to run. Another factor pricing takes into consideration is where they run (AWS or on-premises). To calculate the estimated cost, you can check out the AWS Data Pipeline pricing page.
Integrate.io, formerly known as Xplenty, allows you quickly and easily prepare your data using a simple data integration cloud service. It also has a user-friendly interface that seamlessly connects with a large variety of data stores: relational databases such as Heroku Postgres, PostgreSQL, etc.
- Integrate.io allows you to integrate data from multiple sources into a single data pipeline and implement a wide range of other data transformations out-of-the-box, without additional code to be written.
- Integrate.io ensures a secure transfer of company’s data while migrating from one source to another.
- Great UI that is easy to use and configure.
Integrate.io doesn't disclose pricing. The company offers a 7-day free trial to users who request a product demo.
4. IBM Informix
Informix by IBM is another excellent tool that can be used to move data from one IBM database to another IBM database. Informix has the unique ability to seamlessly integrate and migrate SQL, NoSQL/JSON, time series, and spatial data. With the help of the hybrid cloud infrastructure, Informix helps businesses with data migration projects.
- Perform analytics close to data sources to enhance local decision-making. Access business intelligence faster with enhanced integration with various tools and applications.
- Ensure always-on operations across your grid environment. Upgrade, maintain, and configure the grid with no downtime. Successfully meet service-level agreements.
- IBM Informix delivers fast data transfer that helps transactional data workload enable Data Analytics on data in real-time.
IBM Informix has a free developer edition. For the Informix Cloud's pricing, the small package starts at $1,250/Instance, the medium package at $2,200/Instance, the large package at $4,000/Instance, and the extra large package at $8,000/Instance.
Fivetran is a highly comprehensive ETL tool responsible for taking your data from a system like Quickbooks and inserting it into your centralized data storage system (often referred to as a data warehouse). It offers Data Integration that is built on a fully managed ELT(extract, load, transform) architecture. Note that Fivetran mainly focuses on SaaS integrations. It acquired a CDC solution provider in September 2021 called HVR that has a database migration solution. We wrote another detailed blog post that compares popular CDC solutions if you're interested.
- Eliminates the need to hire a data engineer to build data pipelines that connect various SaaS applications.
- Fivetran does all this by offering a myriad of connectors to both source and destination connectors that allow for both pushing and pulling of data
- After loading the data, Fivetran offers data teams the ability to easily set up custom data transformations.
Fivetran offers credits that are based on customers' monthly active row threshold(MARS) in a given period. Check the Fivetran website for more on the pricing.
Azure DocumentDB Data Migration Tool is owned by Microsoft. This tool allows users to migrate data to DocumentDB, which is NoSQL Document Database. Azure DocumentDB Migration tool enables migration of data to Azure DocumentDB from CSV file/s, JSON file/s, SQL, Azure DocumentDB, MongoDB, and many others.
- It supports a wide range of Windows operating systems and .NET frameworks 4.5.1 or higher versions.
- Automatic scaling of backend database storing data and documents
- It provides real-time data streaming services that are best for transactional data.
Azure DocumentDB Data Migration Tool is free open source tool, but it only migrates into DocumentDB.
Stitch is a self-serve ETL tool that you can use to connect all your data sources to your data warehouse. In the stitch context, data sources are called integrations, and your target storage is called the destination. Stitch is also focused on being a no-code solution that rapidly moves data from 130+ sources into the data warehouse of your choice.
- It allows you to spend less time managing your data pipeline, and focus on generating valuable insights from it.
- Quickly identify and fix any issues you might come across in your data pipeline with Stitch’s efficient error handling mechanism
- Route your data from a single data source to multiple destinations to power your use-cases
Stitch offers three tier plans from a range from $100 to $1250 per month depending on the required number of rows(millions)/month. It also offers customers a 14-day free trial.
An article by TechCrunch described Matillion as “a platform to help companies harness their data so that it can be used, and what’s more, the platform is not just for data scientists, but it’s written with a “low-code” approach that can be used by a wider group of users”. Matillion is a cloud-based ETL platform that focus on data integration from SaaS applications and a few database connectors to the cloud data warehouses. Note that Matillion does not directly do Change Data Capture, and it connects users to AWS DMS for the CDC features.
- Matillion possesses over 100 connectors to popular online SaaS services that you can connect to and pull your data from.
- Push-down ELT technology uses the power of your data warehouse to process complex joins over millions of rows in seconds.
- Collaboration baked-in. Build jobs together in disparate locations, like in Google Docs.
Matillion price plans depending on the platform on which the customer’s data warehouse runs. For a 14-day period, a customer can use the tool for free. It also offers the following plans:
- Basic at $2.00 per credit
- Advanced at $2.50 per credit
- Enterprise $2.70 per credit
9. DBConvert Studio
Another popular tool for database migration and synchronisation is the DBConvert studio. It converts database structures and data between different database formats.
- With DBConvert, you can seamlessly convert database structure and data between various formats, synchronise data spread across multiple databases as well as cross-database migration
- A flexible built-in Scheduler can be used to launch tasks at a specific time without a GUI run
- It allows total management of databases, enables quick configuration & connection, keeps data secure, and makes managing large amounts of data more efficient.
Informatica Cloud Data Wizard is a flexible data loader for any type of user. It is an excellent Salesforce app that allows its users to easily synchronize common as well as custom Salesforce objects with CSV files, with SaaS applications such as NetSuite and cloud storage like Box.
- Admins can establish connections with external applications and conduct on-the-fly transformations.
- It provides in-app integration in order to enhance its user productivity.
- Informatica was given the Leader title in the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Integration Tools
Choosing a tool for migrating data can be overwhelming. As you can see above, many tools exist that cater to a variety of use cases. Being one of the largest factors in the success of a migration project or digital transformation, it is important that you choose the most flexible, reliable, and scalable solution for your needs. A successful data migration project can open up so many doors for your business and make life much better for technical teams building the future of your product. This guide has allowed you to see the options available and their strengths and weaknesses. Using your newfound knowledge of the tools available, we hope that your next data migration project is a success.
If you're interested in seeing how Arcion can help your migration project, book a personalized demo today with our database expert team.