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Making Migrations of Data Your Big Tool

Big DataData is the one element that every business computer user has in common. Whether they're still using MPE/iX or never had a single 3000 online, data is what defines a company's profile and mission. Even within the Windows environments that have been so popular for migrating 3000 sites, data must be migrated. The benefits go beyond consolidation and efficiency, too.

Birket Foster checked in with us to catch us up on what he's been showing IT managers for the past year about managing and migrating data. The tool for this kind of project is MB Foster's UDACentral. The software has been the crucial element in the company's services work, both for the 3000 sites on the move as well as companies that have no 3000 history at all. Foster's company does more business all the time with the latter kind of customer, he said.

"Not every 3000 vendor made this leap," he said. "These are becoming a bigger and bigger part of our revenues."

The UDACentral mission is going beyond a tool for MB Foster to use in engagements. The company's now offering it as Software as a Service. It can be rented for the duration of a migration, either of data or systems. On June 17 at 2 PM Eastern, the tool will be demonstrated in a Wednesday Webinar.

Foster said the software has evolved to include an entity relationship mapper, and the migration speed now clocks in at just 8 hours to move 300 million records. "Rows," Foster reminded us, because at one site the SQL term used for them illustrates how IMAGE never ran a day there.

Customers are revising data structures when migrating data, in one case consolidating 40 separate databases down to a more efficient number. The Entity-Relationship builder tracks elements like keys, table names and record counts, all of those rows. At one site in the retail world, a migration of data simply wasn't going to finish soon enough to be possible.

"They told us that they had a rogue SQL Server database they wanted to move into Oracle," Foster explained, "and after using their in-house scripts for the migration, it wasn't finishing any faster than 8 days." The customer recognized moving the database, crucial for operations, could only take place on off hours, "and they knew they were never going to get any 8-day weekends. They wanted us to move it for them."

After a couple of days of tech support, it only took 90 minutes using UDACentral to move 80 million records. "We also trained them on our data migration methodology when we trained them on the software," Foster said. His company's already lining up more data migration projects for the fall.

Consolidating databases brings more than efficient management. In one customer site, data was being rekeyed as much as six times for various databases, so introducing errors and creating bad data was a real risk. But getting a Key Performance Indicator dashboard, and perhaps extracting data into a custom data mart, are genuine benefits that come from establishing an up to date relationship with your data structures. The biggest benefit might come from using the techniques in Big Data strategy.

"It's hard to steer your enterprise from the rear view mirror," Foster says. UDACentral will have support for Hadoop, Teradata and NoSQL databases in its next version, the kind of data resources used to develop forward-looking views of what customer transactions can predict in key performance.

"We're trying to help people master how to do Big Data," Foster said. Smaller companies can have this within reach now. "They'll have something to grab trends from their data, because there are patterns in there. Even moving from legacy systems, you can see better from a newer dashboard." That's the long-term benefit of being able to easily migrate, integrate and move data, he says.