How and Why to Convert Your Data to a Newer Format

December 15, 2019

Data can be stored in a several different proprietary and non-proprietary formats. For the everyday user, the specific data format may not be a concern. But people who manage data centers constantly encounter questions about format. Data center operators need to consider whether their data is in a usable format — and if it’s not, they need to figure out how to best convert the data into a usable format.

Here’s a look at what you need to know about data center updates.

What Is Data Conversion?

Data conversion is the process of changing a data field from one format to another. Typically, data is converted to a newer format in order to fulfill a specific purpose or goal not met by the older format. Data conversion is distinct from data migration, which moves data from one location to another.

The data conversion process is often quite complicated, requiring research, data cleansing and meticulous checking to ensure the integrity of information is preserved. Moving data to a newer format is often worth the hassle, however, bringing many benefits to a data center and business in general.

Why Consider a Data Format Update?

Businesses decide to perform data format updates for a number of reasons. They may be updating their systems and want their data to reflect the changes. Or they may be switching to software that requires a different data format.

Here are four main benefits that motivate data centers to convert stored data to newer formats:

  • Performance: Converting data to a newer format allows businesses to increase performance. When carefully selected, the newer formats will have higher compatibility with the company’s software and processes, allowing staff outside of IT to work more efficiently.
  • Reliability: File formats become outdated over time. This is particularly true of proprietary formats owned by specific companies. In some cases, a format becoming obsolete may make it impossible for people in your organization to access data stored in that format. Converting data to a relatively new, more reliable format helps prevent data loss and ensure the information remains accessible.
  • Security: Converting your data helps protect your most valuable information from the latest security threats. If you store or otherwise deal with sensitive data, such as medical records or customer financial information, security is a vital consideration.
  • Distribution: Not everyone will be able to access data stored in obscure formats. To ease distribution challenges and make it possible for people outside your organization to use your data, you might consider updating to a newer or more commonly used format.

How Should You Complete the Data Conversion Process?

A successful large-scale data conversion requires a detailed process that starts with planning, progresses through data profiling and cleansing and ends with strict quality assurance and duplicate elimination. Depending on the amount and complexity of the data you are converting, these data conversion process steps can be time-consuming.

If you need assistance with a data center conversion project, DataSpan can help. We’ve been working with data centers for 50 years and are uniquely qualified to tackle your most challenging conversion tasks. We can copy, convert and distribute data to multiple users and tailor our services to meet your needs. We also offer secure inventory and shipping, so you can feel comfortable throughout the conversion process.

To learn more about our data conversion services, find your local DataSpan representative or reach out to us today.