Data migration usually refers to the process of transferring data from an old or legacy system to a new system. Data migration is usually performed programmatically to achieve an automated migration, freeing up human resources from tedious tasks.
Planning data migration
Any time consumed on the process of data migration is thrown away once the go live takes place. This means it loses its value as soon as the new Dynamics 365 instance is up and running. To add most value to the Dynamics 365 implementation consider to execute the least complex, and spending the least amount of time possible in this area. It's not an argument for neglecting data migration, as migrating data often is vital for the Dynamics 365 implementation. It’s just essential to have in mind that the actual deliverables will be thrown away as soon as the go-live takes place.
Process of data migration
The process of migrating data consists of a set of operations where data first is extracted from source system(s), transformed as needed and finally loaded in into destination system. These operations can be termed as the ETL process. The ETL process will be executed several times (ETL cycles) until data quality is acceptable and can be signed off. Learned by experience, several iterations can be expected within each ETL cycle in order to alter transformed data, correct data files or change migration load scripts. The activities in the process should have designated stakeholders - nevertheless, collaboration is vital for achieving data migration success.
Selecting suitable migration tool(s)
In larger implementation, several data migration tools will most likely be used. There is no single way to achieve importing all entities, instead each option should be selected based on volume, complexity, and level of transformation that needs to take place. The process should be as fast as possible, and consuming least amount of time. Always look for the most simple approach when migrating data. Only be as complex as the requirements and constraints force you to be. Sometimes the most elegant solution is the worst in value, when it comes to the task related to data migration.
Even so, the preferred and primary tool for migrating data should be Data Import Export Framework. This is the new innovative approach for migrating data provided by Microsoft. The product is designed and developed to address challenges in data model complexity. It is robust, scalable, flexible and user-friendly. As well, it must be highlighted that this product is supported by Microsoft – and any partner dependencies will hereby be limited.
Data Import Export Tool
The Data Import Export Framework is an extension to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. The framework is providing an architectural foundation for data import and export process as well as it ships with numerous standard templates (150+) covering many important types of business data. New standard templates are frequently added to the tool and custom entities can fairly easy be created using the Custom Entity Creation Wizard.
Supported migration scenarios covers:
- Import entity data from external sources
- Export entity data to external sources
- Copy entity data across legal entities
- Copy entity data across different Dynamics AX instances
Please refer to Data import/export framework user guide for a deep dive into the migration tool.