Companies need to migrate Oracle data for a long list of reasons, such as moving workloads from on-premises to a cloud or managed hosting environment, implementing a new system, or launching a big data initiative. But whatever their aim, Oracle database migration projects are widely known to pose a major risk of failure and budget overruns. 

A big contributing factor is the misconception that these are simple data-moving operations. In fact, Oracle database migrations are often complex and require careful planning. Data migration services and technology alone are not a guarantee of success.

This post shares five tips for a successful Oracle database migration.

One: Recognize that Oracle database migrations are a business problem.

Any Oracle database migration is a data problem—and therefore a business problem—first, and an IT problem second. Not the other way around as conventionally assumed.

Without engagement from business and technical leaders, the chances of failure are very high. It’s important to get input from management stakeholders and to know upfront that adequate project resources will be allocated.

Too often, a lack of business involvement and commitment results in an Oracle database migration project that is fraught with unknowns and incorrect assumptions. These later manifest as data loading problems, functional testing failures, and other stumbling blocks leading to time and cost overruns. Eleventh-hour emergencies may also lead to engaging third-party Oracle data migration services without adequate due diligence.

Two: Don’t underestimate the scope of your Oracle database migration.

A big reason Oracle database migration projects falter is that they weren’t correctly scoped in the first place. Many organizations underestimate the effort required to migrate an Oracle database successfully. 

Some of the reasons include:

  • Lack of understanding of the current data landscape
  • Lack of awareness of current data quality issues
  • Viewing the migration as a simple data-moving exercise
  • Failure to get input from business stakeholders on their needs during the project
  • Inadequate data migration services, tools, and/or expertise to support the migration


Plus, like many IT-related projects, Oracle database migrations are subject to scope creep and specification changes. The better you can analyze your current data, including its volume, data types, etc., the better you can scope the migration. 

Three: Focus on data quality from the outset.

“Garbage in, garbage out” is an inescapable reality when it comes to data. Why spend money moving data to a new environment or a new application if it isn’t usable? Yet it’s often when an existing database is migrated that errors, gaps, corruption, redundancies, and formatting issues rear their heads. 

Even if the data was acceptable for its prior uses, it might not meet your new objectives, such as access by new applications. A successful Oracle database migration requires an upfront emphasis on delivering accurate data that meets business needs. Finding out at the last minute that data requires cleansing is sure to lead to project delays, budget crunches, and specification changes. 

Four: Leverage appropriate Oracle technology.

From data cleansing to data movement to data governance, purpose-built Oracle technology can help automate your Oracle database migration to save effort and improve consistency and repeatability. Choosing Oracle tools also adds to the value of your Oracle investment.

For example, if you’re moving an on-premises Oracle database to the Oracle Cloud, Oracle offers a wide range of data migration services and tools to help you migrate data into your target cloud service (e.g., Oracle Autonomous Database, Hadoop, or Object Storage). These include:

  • OCI Data Transfer Service, a low-cost data migration service that accelerates moving even large-scale datasets to or from Oracle Cloud.
  • Zero Downtime Migration (ZDM) for more efficient migration of on-premises databases to the Oracle Cloud leveraging high availability technologies like Oracle Data Guard and Oracle GoldenGate. 
  • Oracle Data Pump to move data between Oracle databases via a choice of methods, including in the cloud and between on-premises and cloud.

Five: Leverage appropriate data migration services.

“We don’t know what we don’t know.” Thus, businesses may be unaware of their Oracle database migration challenges until they are blindsided in midstream. 

While data migration services can help reduce time and cost impacts in these situations, they can also be of value upfront by helping you avoid or prepare for them. Data migration services can help you sort out your best options for moving Oracle workloads from your data center to a public cloud platform or managed database hosting provider, for instance. This starts you off on the right foot and helps eliminate risks to project success.

Data migration services can also give you on-demand access to specialized Oracle expertise that many businesses don’t have in-house. Unbiased, third-party experts can save time with valuable insights, as well as champion the best course of action from a range of options.

What’s next?

If you’re thinking of moving Oracle databases to a cloud or managed hosting environment, Buda Consulting can help you choose the best option for your workloads. We can also handle the complete migration process for you, from installing and configuring your new Oracle environment to migrating your data. All while minimizing downtime and business risk.

Contact us for a free “database discussion” to explore your Oracle database migration goals and concerns.

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