Here is some of my thoughts on migrating MySQL to Sql Server. It came out of an email discussion. I’d love to hear your thoughts on migrating to a different database platform, not just MySQL to Sql Server.
I actually thought about writing a white paper or even a course on migrating from MySQL to Sql Server, but never got the time to do it. Sometimes a project doing similar things can serve as a launchpad for this endeavour, but that never came along, at least not yet. I am very interested in database interoperability field though. I’ve done MySQL and Oracle admin in the past and have published some MySQL and Oracle stuff in blogs. I have much better technical skills on Sql Server than any other RDBMS platforms, primarily because I’ve worked on it longer.
Here are some of my thoughts. I think most of it applies equally on migration from Oracle, DB2, Sybase, Postgresql, etc., to Sql Server, or the other way around. It might be slightly easier to migrate from Sybase to Sql Server, considering their common root.
1. It is not easy to migrate existing app, unless the app is a simple one. Even for that, there are enough quirks that can throw people off and cause enough frustration to derail the whole projects. I’ve seen that happening twice, having engaged in moving 2 apps from Sql Server to Oracle;
2. Therefore, the best way to migrating to a new database RDBMS, in my opinion, is to start from a new initiative, probably not big initially. When you start things from a clean slate, you don’t have the historical garbage to worry about. Furthermore, you will give the team enough time to learn the new platform, and prepare the team for future migration, if you choose to do so;
3. Having open-minded team members is crucial to a migration project’s success. Too often people have emotional attachments to the platform they are familiar with, possibly out of job security concerns and lack of general curiosity toward new things.
I generally adopt a platform agnostic attitude, and don’t get religious and too carried away on the platform I work on. Having said that, I think these are points that marketing people can spin for persuasion purposes:
1. MySQL has too many storage platforms: MyISAM, InnoDB, MaxDb, and the newly introduced Maria. This can be viewed as a plus, as it provides choice. The downside of it is that it causes confusion for end users;
2. MySQL’s support for relational model is fairly recent. For example, for a long time, MySQL didn’t support Stored Procedures, Views, Triggers, Foreign Keys, etc. One could argue that MySQL is not mature in this area since it is new for them, but I think it is difficult to find evidence to substantiate that claim. Also, running the risk of offending some people, I think the importance of relational model got overblown a bit;
3. Sql Server offers the CLR integration. This can be a great selling point;
4. Sql Server offers tight integration with Visual Studio, Windows network, and all other things Microsoft. This is a huge advantage.
5. Too many people find *nix environment intimidating. Although MySQL works on Windows, but the perception in the marketplace is MySQL works better on *nix.
As far as migrating MySQL to Sql Server in a hosting web environment, my honest opinion is Sql Server will be fighting an uphill battle, because MySQL excels in this arena, especially for small and medium-sized, or departmental organizations, with the proliferation of such LAMP app like blogs, wikies, discussion boards, etc. I believe Microsoft’s weapon of choice in this arena should be SharePoint. Given Microsoft’s clout, it is certainly a battle worth fighting.