In short interviews with our employees we illuminate aspects and questions of our daily work with BlueSpice and our customers. This article deals with the topic of data migration. An Interview with Robert Vogel, Team Lead Product and Software Development at Hallo Welt! GmbH.
Robert, what is migration or data migration?
Migration basically describes the transfer of data from one software to another, in our case from a suitable system in BlueSpice MediaWiki. This transfer is semi-automatic and script-based. This means that the human factor always plays a certain role despite all automatisms.
So data migration isn’t that easy?
As usual, it is a question of solid planning. Migration projects are about structural migration on the one hand. This is the more complex part, because different software systems usually have a different storage logic. Besides that we are facing the issue of content migration, referring to the conversion of content from the source to the target format, which is “WikiText” – the format to optimally display and format content in the wiki.
Further information on the WikiText format can be found here:
Why are data migrated at all? What’s the reason behind it?
The trigger for a migration project in our company is usually the deactivation of an existing software and the customer’s switch to BlueSpice MediaWiki. Migration projects make sense when it comes to transferring a large number of content or documents to BlueSpice MediaWiki. If so, the effort for manual data transfer to the new system would be considerable. In this case, we propose a migration project to the customer. Because migration projects involve programming effort on our part, the profitability of such a project is clarified in advance. As data can also be transferred manually the basic rule is that the migration project must be more economical for the customer than manual data transfer. The cost-benefit ratio must be right. If this is the case, depending on the size of the migration project, there will be considerable time and cost savings for the customer.
What exactly is migrated in a migration project?
On the one hand there is content from editorial or CMS systems such as WordPress, Lotus Notes or Typo3. Often, however, the content is also provided in classic document formats like MS Word or PDF. If the customer wishes to transfer content from an existing Wiki system such as MediaWiki, Confluence or TWiki, this is no problem either. Almost everything is feasible.
What should be particularly taken into account when migrating data?
The homogeneity of the data source at the customer is especially important. This means that the documents or contents should be created according to the same logic. If they are not, our automatisms or scripts do not work and many small things have to be maintained manually. To sum it up: The more heterogeneous the data is, the more complex migration becomes. Therefore it sometimes makes sense to import homogeneous parts of the data stock via a migration script and to manually import others. The ideal solutions is very customer-specific.
And how exactly does a migration project work for us?
We work along a clearly defined process that has already proven itself in many migration projects. First, within the framework of a feasibility analysis, a fundamental check is made as to whether a migration of the existing data stock makes any technical sense at all (keyword: structural migration and data homogeneity).
If the feasibility is given, the details are determined in a specification workshop (via screen sharing or on site at the customer). This includes, for example, renaming documents and files, cleaning out obsolete data, assigning content to wiki categories, namespaces (areas delimited by access rights), pages, sub-pages or wiki instances. The whole thing is an iterative process with several feedback rounds. Once these tasks have been completed, a multi-stage shutdown and handover process follows. The goal: minimizing the time in which the documents cannot be processed by the customer. At the end there is the activation of BlueSpice and the deactivation of the old system – And a satisfied customer who can now manage his content easily and comfortably in his company wiki: BlueSpice MediaWiki.
Let’s Wiki together!
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Author: David Schweiger