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SQL Server Migration Assistant Problem Solved

Risk the Game of Global DominationHaving used SQL Server Migration Assistant for a major Oracle conversion project over the last year, I quickly grew aggravated with its project limitation involving a single database.  In other words, if you setup the project file in SSMA for staging and then you are unable to point it to an acceptance environment to migrate to that environment.  That can be very frustrating especially if you have customized many of the project settings.  I have discovered two workarounds to resolve this problem.

  1. Backup (or copy) the project folder (c:\Users\<<Username>>\Documents\SSMAProjects\<<Project Name>>).  Close SSMA and then delete the target-metabase.mb file in the project folder.   Now open SSMA and now you can connect to a new SQL Server and/or database.  You would want to copy the folder if you want to retain the settings for a different environment such as staging, acceptance, production, etc.  If you rename the folder for a different environment, make sure to rename the *.o2ssproj file to match the folder name.  This is the file that opens inside of SSMA.
  2. The second option is to create a new project using SSMA and then copying in the object-containers.mappings, project-container.mappings, and finally preferences.prefs.  These are the project settings that you have painstakingly setup in your original project.

I hope this helps.  Enjoy!

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Saving Time with SQL Server Migration Assistant for Oracle

After using the SQL Server Migration Assistant for Oracle on a current project to migrate an Oracle database to SQL Server, I have learned a couple of little tricks that I would like to pass on to you.  These are mainly time savers so hopefully they will make you more productive in your project.

The first problem I noticed is that there was no easy way to copy projects nor was there a way to save a project file as another name, which would have allowed me to copy the project.  Why would I want to copy a project?  There are many settings such as column type mappings that will stay the same for my project and are very time-consuming to enter, if you are modifying the defaults.  In my migration, I want to do many iterations in my development and acceptance environments with different SQL Server database names such as Round1, Round2, or Round3 and then use Red Gate Compare and Data Compare to verify that all of the schema and data from the migration are consistent in my migration.  This gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling before I turn over the data to the testers. 

However with each iteration, I must create a new project manually.  Why?  Because SSMA does not refresh to recognize new databases in the existing projects.  That is very annoying.  It only shows what is there  at the time the project is created.  Even if you reconnect to the SQL Server, it does not refresh. 

If you know ahead of time that you will do many iterations, you could however create several databases before starting with the SSMA and then copy the project folder from the first project that you create manually.  You must then rename the folder to the new project name and the corresponding project file (with an o2ssproj file extension) contained within the project folder.  This would allow you to simply switch to the new database.  You must also keep in mind that you need to double-click on the Oracle schema and make sure the target schema is selected as your new database.  This will not happen automagically as you choose a new database name in the SQL Server metadata explorer.

Another option is to create new projects as you create the databases and then copy in the object-container.mappings and/or project-container.mappings files from the first project folder into the new project folder.  This will allow you copy those settings into the new project and save you some time.  I hope you find this useful.  Enjoy.

Oracle Conversion Update

The Oracle Conversion, day 14, continues and it is not as exciting as I envisioned.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, the end result, Global Domination for SQL Server, will be the ends that justify the means.  But until then, migrate data, check data, clean data, remigrate date, check data, clean data, time migration, repair migration process, check data, clean data, remigrate, ad nauseam.  Rinse, lather, repeat.

Oh, this is not my first rodeo, I’ve converted many projects before but never have I converted Oracle before.  Granted, the SQL Server Migration Assistant for Oracle has made life much easier but at the same time it has made life much more difficult. 

It is a quirky tool that is very temperamental.  We had to restart it before we did a successive migration or it would fail we are guessing because it possibly caches information from the previous migration process and the MSDN blog wasn’t much help.  We also had to hit apply on every setting change or it would revert some of them back to the original value. 

In addition, we would have to convert schema sometimes four or five times before it would synchronize them properly to SQL Server, saying that the SQL execution failed.  That answer gives me a huge amount of troubleshooting possibilities.  When it works, it was a great time saver but had we known the quirkiness we probably could have scripted it all out and saved a lot of headaches. 

Doesn’t sound like a big deal? 

Well when you have some big tables and it takes eight hours to convert the schema and you try synchronizing and it fails and you have to convert the schema again, you watch the progress bar for many hours.  Oh yeah, I left out the fact that the vendor is responsible for the migration contractually, so I guess ultimately they should have scripted it out.  Enjoy!

Global Domination, SQL Server Style

For the last two weeks, I have been working with a vendor to migrate our financials from Oracle to SQL Server using SQL Server Migration Assistant. This has been a time-consuming process, which requires an extreme attention to detail as precious data hangs in the balance.

We have found numerous pieces of ‘bad data’ where either Oracle or the application allowed date such as 03/02/0007. These dates are allowed to migrate to SQL Server when using a datetime2 with precision 0, however the vendor requested to use datetime originally which ranges from 1/1/1753 to 12/31/9999, thus causing migration errors.

Here is the dilemma, do you modify data for financials that have closed to have clean data or leave data as is? The DBA in me says to clean the data and make everything pristine before you move it into my SQL Servers, however there are implications with financials and the department made the decision to import as is to ensure data was identical and unmodified. That I can certify, well the vendor will need to certify that as they have chosen the column type conversion fields that work with their application’s SQL Server version.

This conversion is a critical piece in my plan for global domination, well that is my plan to destroy our dependence on Oracle and move solely to SQL Server especially since we are a dot NET development shop. When this project is successful and users see better performance then we will be able to migrate other databases as well and we will see better performance! Enjoy.

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