Migration is nothing but ETL: Extract, Transform, and Load

The Importance of Content Migration

When companies move from a legacy Content Management System (CMS) to a robust CMS like Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), there are many decisions that need to be made including: what modules are needed, which version of AEM to utilize, what integrations will boost performance, and what custom development is necessary?

An area that is often ignored is defining a content migration strategy, which provides a roadmap on how to best transfer existing content into AEM, in the most effective and efficient manner. A successful migration enables companies to increase their productivity by providing better access to—and control of—their existing content.

Content is Not Just Pages

When discussing content migration, most of us think “content = pages”, but content can be anything:

Each content type will require a different approach during the migration process, based on the nature of the content and how clean it is. These approaches can include:

Legacy Systems and Clean Content

After working with many custom .net websites and SharePoint migrations, we have found an alarming trend of redundant data that is present because of the limitations and requirements of legacy systems.

For example, while working with one customer, we received a list of 99,747 images to be migrated. After careful review by our migration expert, we found that each image file had at least 5 renditions – a requirement left over from the Legacy System. The reality was that only 19,720 images were identified as required for migration.

The takeaway is analysis of content before migration is critical to avoid migrating unnecessary and/or junk content into AEM. Failing to do this can result in a poorly performing system and an elongated project timeline that costs you more time and resources than necessary.

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ETL: Extract, Transform, and Load

ETL (Extract, Transform, and Load) is a process in data warehousing, responsible for pulling data out of the source system, and placing it into a data warehouse. The concept of ETL can be applied in content migration to achieve higher efficiencies when using automated scripting migration.

It all starts with analyzing the source, which is usually an xml file format from the current CMS. In order to achieve a successful migration strategy, it is critical to first create a Source Target Mapping document that identifies:


The source is all of the data fields from the current system that will be migrated. Each data field in the xml is identified with an example; having both data field name, and a corresponding sample will help identify if it is required for migration or not.

Transformation Rules

Transformation rules are edits that need to be applied to content such as:


The target identifies where the content is stored within AEM at both the component and JCR level.

Investing time and resources in migration strategy and analysis upfront, will help you to avoid polluting your AEM system with unnecessary content; thereby improving your overall system performance. Highly qualified migration consultants, like ours, provide a deliberate planning approach that helps their team set the appropriate expectations for deliverables. Our consultants will also enhance execution by establishing roles and responsibilities in the services process. Their involvement from the outset can help reduce much of the frustration that companies experience when attempting to overcome the inherent complexities of the data migration process.

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