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Infrastructure Migrations Explained

Infrastructure Migrations Explained

If you're in the software development industry, you will inevitably find yourself working on infrastructure migrations. A migration is the transfer of data, information, or technology from one place, or system, to another. In modern development, it's expected for teams to migrate their infrastructure components eventually, as no one platform will be perfect forever. They may do this to improve scalability and performance, improve efficiency, or transition from an in-house solution to a cloud-based one.

As infrastructure migrations are often risky, you’ll want to plan ahead. Executing one requires lots of work, but you can mitigate the risk by using feature flags. These are useful because they allow you to slowly switch database providers without risking any data integrity. You can also use them to slowly switch from one cloud provider to another.

Effective transitions

If you’re moving to a new infrastructure, take this time to do it right. Infrastructure migrations often come with an abundance of risk- but they don’t have to be that way. Feature flags are a great tool for managing transitions from one infrastructure component to another. You can use them to maintain data integrity, test the new system, deploy changes, and more while ensuring that public availability isn't harmed.

One of the most common misunderstandings about feature flags is that they are only useful for new features, or cosmetic changes. However, they are also helpful when it comes to migrations. Testing is crucial for a digital transformation. Easily trying something out with live data for a subset of your user base, and being able to roll it back quickly if anything goes wrong, will make the process a lot smoother given the blast radius of the issue will be contained to only those targeted.

Using feature flags to facilitate migrations means little to no downtime, and immensely reduced risk. You can enable or disable the migration with little consequence to your customers. If you’re not getting the results you want, easily revert to your original site without much hassle, making the 9pm deployments a thing of the past.