Data migration is one of those things—you know that it has to happen, but you never want to do it. Migrations offer up a whole host of problems, from potential downtime to the struggle of learning a new system. As with many headaches in the business world, someone thought to themselves, “There has to be a better way!”

That person created intelligent data migration, and you’re probably going to be very happy they did. Let’s take a look at the old way of doing things and the reasons this new version is far better. Here’s what you need to know about intelligent data migration.

Lifting and Shifting

Data migration hasn’t always had the opportunity to be “intelligent.” The data migration you’re used to probably makes use of the “lift and shift” method, which is exactly what it sounds like. Essentially, your teams take data from one system, pick it up, and move it to the new system. This is obviously a bit reductive, but it provides you with a good idea of what goes on during the migration process.

To dive a little deeper, your teams have pored over your data to find the fat that you can trim and sought to improve organization during the migration. However, there’s only so much that humans can do when it comes to categorizing and sorting petabytes of data.

Big Bang vs. Trickle Migration

We can further break down the “lift and shift” method into two main types of data migration: big bang and trickle migration. With big bang migration, the entire process happens in one go—you push a button, and migration begins. That migration doesn’t stop until you port over all your data to the new system.

The main drawback of big bang migration is that it renders your systems useless during the process—all your computing power goes into migration. Unless you can afford days or weeks of downtime, it’s usually better to choose trickle migration.

Trickle migration, on the other hand, has a “slow and steady wins the race” mentality. Your teams will come up with the optimal order to transfer data to your new system, moving forward one piece at a time. With trickle migration, you don’t need to worry about downtime—your old system is still functional during the shift.

While both of these types of migration do the job, they require a lot of brainpower from your team and are likely to leave you with problems in your new system. This isn’t the fault of your team, but it’s because different systems work differently. You never know when a particular piece of data won’t sit right in a new system.

Fortunately, these problems are annoying but correctable. And, even more fortunately, intelligent data migration can help you avoid these problems altogether.

What Is Intelligent Data Migration?

As with many other “smart” processes, the difference between regular and intelligent data migration is the addition of artificial intelligence. AI will discover your data—it will look for all the different types of data at use in your business.

Artificial intelligence then classifies that information based on how critical it is. The determining factors include both the importance to your company and its importance in the data privacy regulations hierarchy.

The main idea of intelligent data migration is to use insights generated at fast speeds to sort and organize data efficiently. Once the artificial intelligence has delineated where the data is going, you can perform a low-risk migration at the optimal speed.

How Does That Work?

It’s all well and good to say, “Artificial intelligence makes magic happen,” but what is really going on behind the scenes? In a way, the actual action that your AI is taking isn’t any different from what a human would do to organize data. However, AI can do it much faster.

Essentially, the AI looks over metadata to find out what type of document it’s dealing with, how old the document is, the file size, and who has access to the document. Using all this metadata, the AI can determine where the data needs to go—either ported into your new system or left behind if the information is unnecessary.

Why You Should Use Intelligent Data Migration

You know that AI can help you speed through data migration, but why else should you use intelligent migration? We’ve made a list below of all the benefits of incorporating this technology into your strategy.

Reduced Storage Costs

One of the biggest benefits of using these data migration tools is that you can save money on data storage. Intelligent migration will find a ton of redundant information that you can leave behind—and with each piece you leave, you free up more storage space. By the time the AI looks over everything, you may need a lot less storage space than you assumed.

There’s no need to pay a premium to keep obsolete information on hand. Open up your IT budget and breathe easier when you see the bottom line.

Reduced Migration Costs

Data migration isn’t cheap, but when you migrate fewer documents, the process takes less time. In addition to saving storage money, you’ll also be able to make use of your new system sooner. On top of that, many AIs require training before you can use them. Luckily, intelligent migration AI comes pre-trained, so you don’t need to spend any time doing that.

Better Productivity

Once everything is in the new system, your employees will be able to work more efficiently with less unnecessary information clogging up the system. It’s far more difficult to get things done when you need to sift through old files before you can begin.


Proper data storage isn’t only a matter of convenience—there are also state and federal mandates that require you to classify data in a certain way. To avoid fines that come about through human error, let artificial intelligence do all the work!

Now that you understand what you need to know about intelligent data migration, decide whether it’s a tactic you want to employ at your facility the next time a migration needs to happen. There’s nothing better than efficiency, so talk with your teams and figure out if intelligent data migration is right for you.

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