Migrations and PLM World

Microsoft announce SQL Server migration assistant for MySQL. It seems to me, Microsoft is thinking about how to expand their SQL tool’s market share. As a step towards this direction Microsoft is thinking how to provide an easy and smooth way to migrate from one data management system to another. I’m not an expert in database migrations. However, reading about Microsoft migration tools made me think about migration between different PLM and PDM systems in manufacturing world.

Reasons to Migrate

What if.. you want to migrate from one PLM system to another one? Such a situation is not completely rare and companies are moving between tools and product suites due to different things happens in PLM eco-system. Such a situation may happen as a consequence of M&A when companies are merging their IT stacks and PLM systems used by companies before or after acquisition. In addition, customers are deciding to move into a better tool – another "good" reason for migration. At the same time, there are multiple situations when customers need to migrate between PLM tools because vendors going out of business, software companies acquisitions and other reasons. What happens if you are migrating between systems, and you don’t have an appropriated tool? I decided to put few options that can give you some values in product migrations.

Migrate vs. Legacy

However, to migrate between systems is not a simple task. It takes time and requires a complex set of tasks to move data, change working processes and tools. In some situations, companies prefer to keep existing systems and use data inside as a legacy data. This cannot be considered as an excellent choice. However, in a business world, it can be a very reasonable compromise. Some PLM companies are providing federation systems that can help to maintain such situations.

Mashups

Another option to resolve the situation with outdated PLM/PDM system. You can decide to develop mashup applications. This is a very popular practice in the Web world. You can develop mashup applications to consume a data located in outdated or legacy PLM/PDM systems. The consumer (user) layer will be new and fancy. Behind the scene, the legacy system will be kept up and running.

ETL and Other Integration Tools

This is another way to handle a transition of data between your old PDM/PLM and a new one. ETL (extract-transform-load) tools can allow you to retrieve data in a variety of formats from databases and proprietary data sources, transform it and transmit into a target system.

What is my conclusion? I think, PLM migration topic is a very complicated one. Changes in multiple systems, different versions, customization and implementations made this space a bit messy. To put some lights into this space can be benficial for users and vendors.

Best, Oleg

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2 Responses to Migrations and PLM World

  1. Jim says:

    Good insights. The PLM vendors are certainly behind the curve in providing this. I can foresee that when you customize the PDM data schema, then migrations even between development, test, and production instances can be difficult. I would be curious to know how others have handled this case — whether your particular PDM handles this well, or if you have difficulties in moving to new changes to your data schema, or in moving data between systems.

  2. Jim, thanks for your comment! You are right, the problem of migration is not only related to PLM system replacement, but also exist in case of work between development, test and product environment. All data manipulations are complex in enterprise systems and PLM is not unique. The complexity of PLM is different from the complexity of billing systems, for example. At the same time, the diversity of product data management in design, engineering and manufacturing creates lots of “complicated” data migration situations. Best, Oleg

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