Why Data Conveyer?

Why is it that data migration projects are so costly and error-prone?

Before answering this question, we need to realize that data alone has no definite meaning. Can the meaning of the data stream below be determined based on data alone?

Data stream

In order to retrieve the information carried out, we need to know how to interpret the data.

Data is only as good as our ability to interpret it

Let’s start with a trivial example. Imagine a weather forecast announcing a temperature drop below 20 degrees.

20 degrees What does the 20 degrees mean?

 

20 degrees in America In America, such forecast most likely indicates the arrival of an arctic air mass.

 

20 degrees in Europe In Europe however, where temperature is measured in Celsius, this weather forecast would simply convey a relief from a heat wave.

 

The consequences of misinterpreting data can be serious.

Gimli Glider On July 23, 1983, a Boeing 767 performing Air Canada Flight 143 from Ottawa to Edmonton ran out of fuel midair. Miraculously, the plane landed with no fatalities.

The reason for this near disaster quickly became obvious: the plane was refueled with insufficient fuel for the planned flight. In 1983, Canada was in the midst of converting to the metric system. Details on misinterpretation of refuleling data can be found in many reports of this incident, which is known as Gimli Glider.

So, why is it that data migration projects are so costly and error-prone?

Data comes in different shapes and forms. Some data is easy, or at least straightforward, to interpret. We can readily convert documents, images and other media into just about any imaginable format.

Yet, when it comes to enterprise data, things get more complicated. There are too many proprietary standards and “one-of-a-kind” conventions for data to be interpreted in an unambiguous way. Industry standards, such as XML or EDI help, but they can only reach so far. As a result, data migration projects still involve the same decades old, “tried and true” approach that results in “hard‑wired”, “one of a kind” integration solutions.

Fortunately, thanks to recent advancements in information technology, inexpensive and accurate data migration solutions are possible.