Moving to Magento 2: Creating a Migration Plan

Magento 2 was finally launched in November last year, after a
very long wait. Apparently the wait was worth it, because the new version of
Magento seems to be built on an altogether different architecture and is much more
optimized, fast and user-friendly. If you are planning to build a new Magento
store, it is almost a no-brainer that you should be using Magento 2 for your new
Magento project. 

However, if you already have a Magento 1 store, the release of
Magento 2 will put you in a bit of quandary on whether you should stick to
Magento 1 or switch to Magento 2. In this article, and an upcoming
article on the same topic, I’ll briefly discuss the migration process to
Magento 2, and all the important aspects you need to consider for this

Things to Consider Before Migration

The first decision you need to make here is: should you stick with Magento 1 for a while, or start the migration to Magento 2
right away? Here are a few things to consider while making this decision:

  • Magento 2 is indeed better and faster than
    Magento 1—there is no doubt about it. So, if you have just launched your
    store, or have little to no traffic to it at this stage, start the migration
    process right away.
  • If you are satisfied with your current Magento
    performance, and things are working fine for you with Magento 1, there is no urgent
    need to migrate to Magento 2. Just because Magento 2 is launched, it doesn’t mean
    Magento 1 is dead already. Magento has announced it’ll keep supporting Magento
    1 for three more years—it just won’t release any more versions of Magento 1, and
    you won’t see many new Magento 1 themes and extensions. So, in short, you
    can keep using Magento 1 for a year or two without feeling the dire need to
  • Refrain from the upgrading process if you
    currently have an important season for your eCommerce store. In the middle of
    popular shopping seasons like Black Friday or New Year Holidays, it’s a really
    bad idea to start changing your website configurations, because it can cause
    maintenance and downtime, and you never know when anything might go wrong. So why
    take the risk?
  • Another important thing to consider is whether
    the theme and extensions you are using for your Magento store are yet available for
    Magento 2. Magento 2 is just a few months old, so although the community is struggling
    fast to upgrade the existing extensions and themes, not all are Magento 2
    compatible yet. So, if you have an important extension that isn’t Magento 2
    ready yet, you should definitely wait!

The Migration Plan

If you have considered all the pros and cons of
transferring to Magento 2 and have taken the decision to migrate, here is a brief
overview of the steps required to transfer your site to Magento 2.

Review Your Website

As discussed above, have a good look at the availability of
your required extensions and themes—you should be sure they are available in
Magento 2. Also, look for any unnecessary extensions you can drop, as well as any database assets you have to migrate and any assets you
can drop.

Planning for Infrastructure

Check with your hosting company if it has all the required
capacity to host Magento 2 without a problem, and if it can also sustain and support
your website when traffic scales in future.

Create a Magento 2 Store

Create a fresh installation of Magento 2, and after
installation back up or dump your Magento 2 database as soon as possible

Next, start installing your required extensions on this fresh
Magento 2 store.

Steps for Migration

Install the Magento migration tool (steps given below) and
make sure it has access to both the Magento 1 and Magento 2 databases to start the
migration process.

Stop Magento 1 cron jobs and also all the activity in the Magento
1 admin panel other than necessary order management issues, and do not resume
the activity until the migration process is completed and the Magento 2 site
goes live.

Manually transfer all the media files from your Magento 1
site to Magento 2, and use the Magento migration tool to migrate the settings
to the Magento 2 site.

Now use the migration tool to completely transfer the
Magento 1 database to the Magento 2 database. Both databases have different
structures, but the migration tool knows what to transfer where, so that the data
remains accessible in your Magento 2 installation. However, if you are using an extension which uses its own data, and when you transfer it to Magento 2 it has a different database structure for Magento 2, use the mapping files that come with
the data migration tool.

Once you have completed the database transfer, reindex your
Magento 2 site.

And, as always, the last step is to conduct thorough testing of your new Magento 2 site.

Post-Migration Steps

Although you stopped most activity in the Magento 1 admin panel
before the start of the migration process, perhaps there were some order processing issues
going on. Also, maybe new user reviews or changes in customer profiles occurred during this time. Now you need to migrate that data using incremental updates.

Once you’ve ensured that you have completely transferred all the data to your Magento 2 site, and everything is working absolutely fine, it’s time to go
live. For that, put your Magento 1 site into maintenance mode, stop the migration
tool, start Magento 2 cron jobs, and point your DNS load balancers to the new
production hardware. And you are done!

This flowchart diagram explains all the steps for migration:

Migration Flow Chart

Image Source:

Note this was just an overview of the migration process so that you can properly plan for it. A more
detailed explanation of all these steps will be given in an upcoming article
on the same topic.

Best Practices to Consider

Though I’ll explain all the migration step details in the next article, here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Before migration, create a duplicate of the Magento 1
    database, and connect your Magento 2 to that duplicate database. That’s because if you
    accidentally connect to the Magento 1 live database, you’ll end up losing your Magento 1
    database, and often database losses are irrecoverable.
  • After duplicating the Magento 1 database, only
    keep essential data in it and remove all unnecessary data from it. For instance, you can remove recently viewed and compared product records, some old
    promotional rules, logs, order quotes, etc.
  • Stop activity (except essential order management
    activity) in the Magento 1 admin panel before you start the migration process.
    If you make changes after creating a database duplicate, those changes
    won’t get transferred to your Magento 2 site.
  • Avoid all sorts of code changes during the migration
    process. Developers get the temptation to fix things as they come to their
    sight, but migration time is not the best time to do that. You can hold all
    these changes till the migration is successfully completed.
  • To boost the migration performance, you can set the <direct_document_copy>1</direct_document_copy> option in your config.xml. To do that, the Magento 1 and Magento 2
    databases should be
    located in one MySQL instance, and the database account must access each

Now I’ll give you an estimate of a professional migration process
time, as given in the Magento devdocs. A Magento store hosted on VirtualBox VM, CentOS
6, 2.5Gb RAM, CPU 1 core 2.6GHz environment, with database of around 177k
products, 355k orders, 214k customers took approximately 10 minutes to migrate
settings and 9 minutes to migrate data, and the site had to remain in maintenance
mode for a couple of minutes to reindex the Magento 2 site and to change the DNS

Migration Tool vs. Manual Transfer

Though the migration tool is of great help for migrating your data and
settings to Magento 2, not all the data can be transferred via this
migration tool. These are the three types of data that you need to transfer
manually (instructions on how to do that in next article):

  1. Media
  2. Storefront design
  3. ACLs (Access control

Installing the Magento
Migration Tool

Before you install the Migration tool, make sure you have completed all the steps in the ‘Review your
website’, ‘Planning for infrastructure’ and ‘Creating Magento 2 store’ phases,
as explained above. Once you have done all that, use the instructions below to

Log in to your Magento site server as the user
with privileges to edit and create files.

Go to the Magento 2 root directory, and enter the
following command to update the composer.json file first:

composer config repositories.magento composer

Next, enter the
following command to require the current version of the package:

composer require magento/data-migration-tool:2.0.0

This will install version 2.0.0 of the package. If you intend to use a different package version, set the version in the command accordingly.

Wait while
dependencies are installed. Once done, enter these two commands to install the
migration tool:

composer config git
composer require magento/data-migration-tool:dev-master

When you run these
commands, it’ll prompt you for authentication keys. For the public key, enter
your username, and for the private key, enter your password. More information on
authentication keys can be found in the Magento devdocs.

should install the Magento migration tool on your Magento 2 store. We’ll use it to
initiate and complete the transfer following the procedures explained in the
next article.

this article, my intention was to point out some key things to consider to help
you decide if it’s a good decision to migrate to Magento 2 for your store. I also gave
an overview of the migration process for your planning purposes, and gave you
some tips for best practices in the migration process. As a first step, we have also
installed the Magento data migration tool.

proceed from where we have left today in the next article!

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