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5 Reasons Why Migration Testing is critical

Author: Michael Wade
by Michael Wade
Posted: Apr 12, 2018

Digital enterprises have to constantly adapt to the changing dynamics of the technology landscape where the shelf life of technology stacks has become limited. This is due to the disruptive impact of the new technology paradigms that emerge to meet the demands of speed, quality, flexibility, timeliness and cost. As a consequence, enterprises are forced to migrate to the new technology platforms along with their data centres and applications. They do so to remain relevant and to meet the challenges of a dynamic digital environment including the ones arising out of mergers and acquisitions.

All said and done, if the industry figures are anything to go by, migration is a fairly complex and risky process where the chances of failure far outweigh the success rate.

Factors leading to a migration failure?

Loss of data: The migration process can result in the loss or corruption of data. This can even crash the applications, software or systems. The likely reason for such an eventuality could be the following:

  • An improper assessment of data and the system challenges
  • Lack of encryption of data during the migration process
  • Inadequate backup or the absence of a data recovery process

Data inconsistency: Changes made to the source database or application can render the target database or application incompatible with each other. The resultant inconsistency of data can turn any mission critical application ineffective.

Inadequate understanding of dependencies: Each field, variable and object in a database is interdependent. If the migration process does not take into account the behaviour of dependencies beforehand, the migration outcome can turn out to be faulty and inconsistent.

Unplanned downtime: Any unplanned downtime experienced during migration can extend the migration time and result in cost overruns. This calls for a trial migration conducted in a controlled environment before the actual exercise.

Since the failure of migration can cause substantive losses to the enterprise, migration testing should be carried out in right earnest. The losses can range from losing critical business data, crashing of applications and IT systems, and the failure to meet turnaround times and compliance regulations to the loss of client/customer trust and ROI.

What is Migration Testing?

It is a quality assurance process whereby various aspects of migration are tested in a controlled environment. The migration testing approach adopted by the QA team can successfully identify the issues and pre-empt any possible impact. A suitable migration testing approach can result in risk mitigation leading to better outcomes.

Key features of migration testing

Planning: Build a QA testing plan covering the entire phalanx of data, applications, processes, and legacy systems. The plan should be based on the business requirements.

Forming a team: The migration testing approach should form a team comprising of all the stakeholders?—?management, IT, and operations. The team should be upskilled on the applications and systems the business will use post migration. The team should be familiarized with the scope of migration based on data migration testing. Importantly, the team should be apprised of the benefits and the time frame of migration.

Review: The QA team should review the results of data migration testing and apply corrective action for dealing with the failures in the next test iteration.

Evaluation of risks: The entire migration can lead to certain risks related to business or compliance. The same should be evaluated and taken into account while drawing the strategies for migration.

Create a reporting mechanism: The data or application migration testing exercise should have a robust reporting mechanism. The report should record each and every result of test iteration.

The five reasons that make testing data migration critical

  • 1, The testing process identifies the risks and bugs that can disrupt the entire migration exercise
  • 2. It identifies the areas where data inconsistency can lead to the crashing of applications and systems
  • 3. It leads to a seamless transition from the legacy systems to the new systems
  • 4. It pre-empts any system failure or data loss
  • 5. It validates if the entire migration exercise complies with the requirements laid down by the regulatory bodies


The high risk impact of migration on business means the entire exercise should proceed with due diligence. Carrying out the testing of data migration is a critical part of the due diligence process that helps in risk mitigation and ensures a seamless transition to the new system.

About the Author

Michael works for Cigniti Technologies, which is the world's first Independent Software Testing Company to be appraised at CMMI-SVC Level 5, and an ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 27001:2013 certified organization.

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Author: Michael Wade

Michael Wade

Member since: Aug 26, 2015
Published articles: 119

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