7 best practices for a successful IDMS migration to Db2 or SQL Server
Blog //03-10-2023

7 best practices for a successful IDMS migration to Db2 or SQL Server

by Rob Anderson, Vice President of Marketing and Product for Application Modernization

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, organisations are constantly seeking ways to optimise their data management systems to ensure efficiency, performance, and scalability. For enterprises using IDMS (Integrated Database Management System), migrating to an alternative DBMS like Db2 or SQL Server can offer a host of benefits. We’ll discuss the best practices to follow for a successful IDMS migration, focusing on streamlining data management for enhanced performance and scalability.

1. Comprehensive Planning and Assessment

Planning and assessment are crucial steps for a successful migration project. By conducting a thorough assessment, businesses can anticipate challenges and develop effective strategies to mitigate risks. Before starting the migration process, it is essential to evaluate your current and future needs, considering factors such as data size and complexity, application functionality and performance, tool compatibility and integration, as well as budget and timeline. Identifying the potential risks and benefits of migrating to SQL or Db2 is also vital, including considerations like the learning curve, licensing costs, maintenance requirements, and expected outcomes. Based on your assessment, you can choose the most suitable Db2 solution to meet your specific requirements.

At Advanced, we prioritise an extensive assessment as the foundation of every database migration initiative. Our process involves mapping the entire in-scope estate, narrowing the scope of modernisation, and uncovering hidden business rules and potential pitfalls.

2. Engage Stakeholders and Create a Migration Team

Migrating from IDMS to Db2 or SQL Server is a complex undertaking that requires the collaboration of various stakeholders within your organisation. It's important to engage key personnel from IT, database administrators, developers, and business owners to form a dedicated migration team. This team will play a crucial role in overseeing the migration process, coordinating tasks, and facilitating smooth communication among all parties involved.

To ensure a successful migration, it may be beneficial to partner with experienced modernisation providers like Advanced. With domain expertise, strategic guidance, decades of experience, and technical proficiency, these professionals are equipped to navigate the complexities of modernisation regardless of the source, target, and path involved.

3. Develop a Robust Migration Strategy

A well-defined migration strategy is crucial for minimising downtime and ensuring data integrity during the transition. It involves developing a detailed plan that outlines the sequence of activities, including data extraction, transformation, and loading processes. Testing, validation, and fallback procedures should also be considered to address any unforeseen issues. By adhering to industry best practices and leveraging proven migration tools, you can streamline the process and ensure a successful migration.

Advanced's Automated IDMS Migration offers a comprehensive approach to migrate from the existing IDMS network database. It includes generating a new relational database that replaces the functionality, sets relationships, indexes, and data structures of IDMS. The new database can be hosted on or off-mainframe.

4. Data Cleansing and Transformation

Before migrating your data, proper data preparation is necessary. This involves cleaning, formatting, and converting your data to meet the requirements and standards of Db2 or SQL Server. It is essential to check for any inconsistencies, errors, or duplicates in the data and resolve them. Additionally, formatting and converting the data according to the supported data types, character sets, collations, and encodings of Db2 is essential. Finally, backing up your data and creating a recovery plan is recommended to address any unforeseen issues that may arise during the migration process.

5.  Rigorous Testing and Validation

Thorough testing and validation are essential to mitigate risks and ensure the successful migration of IDMS to Db2 or SQL Server. Develop a comprehensive test plan that covers functional, performance, and security aspects of the new environment. Test the migrated data against predefined criteria and validate the system's performance under different scenarios. This step helps identify any anomalies or discrepancies that need to be addressed before the final migration.

6. Training and Knowledge Transfer

A successful migration is not just about moving data; it also involves preparing the organisation's workforce for the new environment. Provide comprehensive training sessions to end-users, developers, DBAs, and administrators to familiarise them with the features and functionality of the new database management system. Careful knowledge transfer ensures a smooth transition, empowers employees to leverage the new system effectively, and maximises the return on investment.

7. Post-Migration Monitoring and Support

After the migration, it is crucial to closely monitor the system's performance and address any post-migration issues promptly. Establishing robust monitoring mechanisms and conducting regular health checks will help identify and resolve any challenges that may arise. Maintain open lines of communication with stakeholders and provide ongoing support to address concerns, optimise system performance, and ensure a seamless user experience.

Ready to take the next step?

Advanced is unmatched in the world of IDMS modernisation. We have harnessed our tooling and expertise to migrate and modernise IDMS for nearly four decades. From the largest database migration in North American Insurance history to the largest database migration the UK government has ever undertaken, we have seen it all. No matter what kind of modernisation plans you are considering, Advanced can help you meet your objectives and drastically reduce project risk by harnessing the power of unmatched modernisation expertise and powerful modernisation tools. Get in touch today.


Application Modernisation Blog Application Modernisation
Rob Anderson

Rob Anderson


Vice President of Marketing and Product for Application Modernization

Rob Anderson is Vice President of Marketing and Product for Application Modernization. He has spent the better part of the past decade developing, marketing, and selling mainframe modernization solutions, and has had a front-row seat in the transformation of the industry and its surrounding ecosystem.

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