Migrating Oracle to SQL Server – Getting Started

Skyrocketing Oracle licensing costs, combined with a shrinking talent pool of Oracle DBAs have spurred companies to take advantage of the powerful features and performance advances that SQL Server offers. However, migrating from Oracle to SQL Server can be a complex endeavor that is best left to database administrators (DBAs) with deep experience in both platforms. In our latest webinar, Migrating Oracle to SQL Server – Key Considerations and Getting Started, Mike McCracken, Senior Director of HOSTING Advanced Solutions, and Jim Haas, Vice President of Operations at Ntirety, a division of HOSTING, explored the reasons, potential ROI, initial risks, and high level technical considerations that companies need to consider before embarking on this initiative. Missed it? You can view the on-demand webinar here. Following are some highlights.

3 Reasons to Consider Migrating Oracle to SQL Server

Jim emphasizes that there are certain instances where Oracle is an appropriate platform for companies to use. And as Total Data Experts, Ntirety supports a variety of database platforms, including Oracle. However, he lists three key use cases for migrating Oracle to SQL Server.

1) Cost savings 

According to Jim, “Cost is the number one driver from the Ntirety customer base when considering a migration from Oracle to SQL Server.” He adds that, “Microsoft has some really good tools that you have to pay for on the Oracle side.” So it pays to really understand what tools you are getting from Oracle versus those from SQL Server.

Another factor to consider is pricing models. As of SQL Server 2012’s release, Microsoft licenses by core, not processor. While Oracle is very granular with their pricing, Microsoft offers transparent, predictable pricing. And while the pricing gap between Oracle and Microsoft is closer than it used to be, it is still much cheaper to run data and applications on SQL Server.

Jim runs through a simple pricing exercise during the webinar which shows a large ROI savings with SQL Server versus Oracle that scales with system size and overall environment core count.

2) Staff skill set

Jim emphasizes that the Microsoft stack is dominant in development and business OS environments, especially those found in small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Many of these SMBs have lean IT teams. If they are already developing everything on the Microsoft stack, they need to “double up” on skills if they want to add Oracle into their IT environment. Since learning Oracle is more difficult than learning SQL Server, chances are that many companies would have to hire an outside Oracle resource. However, finding good DBAs with solid Oracle experience is an difficult and expensive endeavor. And if a company is able to find the talent they need, they find that it comes with a higher price tag than a Microsoft resource. In the end, many companies find greater cost savings through SQL Server from both a licensing and staffing perspective.

3) Tools set integration

“Oracle is very granular on pricing,” Jim notes. Its a la carte pricing model means that organizations need to take all features (and prices for each) into account.

Jim also points out that “Microsoft packs a lot of tools into the SQL platform” including: a database engine, a partial development platform, built-in replication, a reporting package, and SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) – a platform for data integration and workflow applications.

“Microsoft built products with integration in mind,” says Jim. Business intelligence integration is provided at no cost. And Office 360 products for data mining seamlessly integrate into SQL Server.

2 Types Oracle to SQL Server Migrations

Jim lists two main types of Oracle to SQL Service migrations, ranging in complexity and typical time involved.

“Every migration must be a project,” he emphasizes, “Even the most basic of migrations will require planning, testing and validation.”

Jim also cautions IT teams to “expect data type issues during migration, no matter how much you plan.”

1) Data only migrations

Data only migrations often occur when an organization needs to access data from a repository that is no longer in use. For example, a company may want to access data from an End-of-Life (EOL) application for future auditing and reporting purposes. These are relatively simple migrations with an average project time of 2 – 4 weeks, depending on the environment. Data only migrations are typically much faster and cheaper than other types of migrations.

2) Data + code/structure migrations

These are much more complex migrations with an average project time of 3 – 6 months. Some constructs are unique and/or custom to an Oracle environment and may require re-engineering. In some cases, data may perform unpredictably. Application side changes may also be required.

Oracle to SQL Server Migration Process

Ntirety, a division of HOSTING, was created to east the burden of database administration and maintenance on beleaguered IT departments. We have implemented hundreds of successful migration projects using the following process.

  • Project plan definition
  • Business analysis
  • Development
  • Testing and validation
  • Implementation and rollout
  • Ongoing support and incremental enhancements

Oracle to SQL Server migrations are complex. Help is out there. Contact the data migration experts at HOSTING and Ntirety anytime for help with your specific needs.

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