Engineers, IT Execs, Database Admins,
Get the only guide you'll need on data migration.

If you're going through a joint venture, merger and acquisition, digital transformation or upgrading your system, you'll need this blueprint for data migration.


PLM Migration: CAD Data Migration

Are You Considering a PLM Migration (CAD Data Migration)?

​​Migrating and replacing existing CAD and ​part structures is a challenge. You need the right strategy and know-how for a successful migration. Without an effective strategy, moving large amounts of design data becomes increasingly difficult​. Defining the best strategy, such as 'big bang' or 'incremental' migration, along with leveraging the right toolset, will ultimately enable a smooth and successful migration. To get a full understanding of your PLM migration, you need to make sure that you ask the right questions.

From a systems architecture view:

  • ​Are you replacing or re-aligning your current PLM system?
  • Will a brand new target system be set up or are you migrating to an existing system?
  • What interfaces to other systems will you need?

From an organizational view:

  • ​What are the deadlines and timeframes for your migration?
  • ​Do you have the right internal and/or external resources?
  • Will this be completed in-house or will you hire someone?
  • What is your budget?

From a process view:

  • Which processes are you implementing?
  • Which cross-system processes are you implementing?
  • Which data are you sharing between old and new systems?

From a data view:

  • ​What data are you providing?  How much data are you providing?
  • ​What is the quality of your meta data and CAD data?
  • ​​Are you migrating the whole history? What is the quality of historical data?
  • ​​How will you transform old data to fit new processes?

OpenPDM Migrates Product data


What is the best PLM migration / CAD Data Migration strategy?

Each use case is different and some cases may benefit from a 'one time' migration instead of an incremental migration. But what benefits do we see with each?

'Big Bang' Migration

Extract, Transform, Load

​ETL (Etract, Transform, Load) Method

What is a 'big bang' data migration? Two definitions exist:

  1. Big Bang Data Centric - All data is moved to the new system.
  2. Big Bang User Centric - All users are moved in one point in time to the new system.

'Big Bang' Data Centric Migration


  • The migration process is executed only once.
  • The migration does not have to deal with delta calculations /migration.


  • Blackout time for business can be very high.
  • Training all users at once for the new system can be challenging.

One-time migrations, aka 'Big Bang’ or bulk migrations, give you the ability to export data from the source system to a staging database (extract). Data is then mapped to the target system format and any data issues are fixed (transform). Once completed, the entire staging database is imported to the production system.

The steps include:

  1. The source system is locked for any changes.
  2. All relevant data is moved to the new system.
  3. After the data movement all users work in the new system.

Note the blackout time is the critical factor for a big bang data migration approach. Businesses at most should not ​be able to access data more than a weekend plus 2-3 working days.

Big Bang Data centric migration

'Big Bang' User Centric Migration

Though this strategy is more complex, the added advantage of this migration is a reduction in your blackout time.  All users will start working in the new system at a certain point in time.  But, this ​is NOT true for the data.

Typically, this approach will be separated by:


  • Your source system is locked for changes or cloned to a test system to maintain a snapshot of the product system.
  • After export of relevant data, the system in unlocked again.
  • The snapshot is migrated to the new system (long migration period), the users remain in the source system and continue working in it while Frontloading runs.

Delta Migration

  • Your source system is locked for changes.
  • Delta of the snapshot to the current system is migrated.
  • ​After delta migration, all users start working in the new system.

big bang user centric


  • The blackout time for the business is reduced significantly.


  • ​The migration needs to identify the delta in the source system and export only this delta.
  • The migration needs to import the delta incrementally ot the target system.
  • Cloning the production system and locking the system until all data is exported.
  • Training all users at once to the new system is a challenge.

Incremental Data Migration


​Transactional Method

Incremental migrations allow more complex enterprises to transition from one PLM to another.  Migration does not need to happen all at once. Instead, it moves at a pace of your choosing. Users can move to the new system with a new project or remain on the old system until the completion of the existing work.  Data ownership is transferred from the old system to the new system and information is synced from the owning system based on the system of record.

The following requirements may lead you to implement this approach:

  • When your legacy system has a large user and data base which can't be moved in a single 'big bang'
  • If your customer has multiple sites that are migrated one after the next to the new system
  • If each site can be migrated as a seperate migration chunk.

​If you're moving forward with this migration strategy, you need to understand how the source system data (and users) can be allocated into migration chunks - per project, per program, etc. and the order in which your migration is executed. Your migration process must be centered around the goal of moving all data into the new system.  You must understand that each object know exactly where its master is , which is often a great technical and organizational challenge.


  • The migration is split up into smaller migration chunks which are better maintainable for a migration process.
  • Training end users can be planned per migration chunk


  • Moving migration chunks instead of the complete database causes additional effort on organization and technical level
  • The migration has to deal with already migrated data (reuse when migration chunks overlap)
  • An organizational and technical solution must be defined to lock migrated data in source system (one master principal)
  • For overlapping data in the migration chunks a process is required to bring new revisions from target system to source system

​Coexistence Data Migration

​From a technology point of view, a coexistence data migration is the most complex and challenging approach for data migration.  In this strategy, the legacy system and the new system must be kept in sync for a long time until all data is moved to the new system. As this strategy focuses on minimizing the impact of the migration process for the business, the approach involves a bi-directional interface to enable a continuous business process.  Both systems 'coexist' while your migration process occurs.  

​In short, coexistence is a mix of incremental migration for large data migrations combined with bi-directional synchronization processes.  The approach must ensure that each object know exactly where the master is. 


  • Enables staged migration of data
  • Staged migration allows for easier PLM adoption strategies
  • Errors are more easily controlled and corrected
  • Enables migration to move a the pace of the business


  • ​GIGO - garbage in, garbage out - If you've got bad data to begin with, you'll have bad data in your new system.
  • ​Order of import operations is not always transparent
  • Performance is not as good
  • Testing can be cumbersome

Regardless of your chosen strategy, the route to a successful migration includes careful project planning, defined requirements, and identification of the correct deliverables and tasks. Given the considerable complexity of migrations, what tools are best suited to help migrate your data?

PLM Migration with OpenPDM Migrate

OpenPDM Migrate

Whether your chosen method of PLM migration is one time, staged or incremental, you need a ​tool that increases the likelihood of success. When you replace a PLM system, you want to ensure:

  • ​Project success
  • Manageable data migration
  • A high level of performance for future viability
  • Optimal process monitoring
  • Individualized solutions
  • That anything and everything can be migrated
  • A high level of economic efficiency.

Is OpenPDM Migrate for You?

​OpenPDM Migrate is the tool that enables you to migrate existing PLM data from an old system to a new system regardless of the strategy you use for data migration.  OpenPDM Migrate transfers individual parts, BOMs, documents and complex product structures to the new system.

OpenPDM Migrate enables you to:

  • Analyze source data (volume, type, etc.)
  • Migrate structured data with flexibility (project, product, etc.)
  • View a high level of performance and error tolerances from packing and parallelization
  • Transfer CAD models and structures
  • Leverage bi-directional synchronization for incremental migration strategy
  • Migrate data from multiple data sources (systems and files)
  • Monitor your processes using migration cockpit
  • Optional CAD Conversion

6 Reasons Why You Would Use OpenPDM Integrate

​1. Flexible PLM Migration

​OpenPDM ​Migrate supports your different migration strategies – from big bang migration to incremental migration to the coexistence of the old and new systems over a longer period of time. ​

2. High Performance Migration

​OpenPDM Migrate provides for you parallel processing of individual jobs to accelerate data transfer and ensure a high level of performance during migration. OpenPDM Migrate has the ability to process your large volumes of data, making your migration of data manageable even in migration projects using the big-bang migration method.

3. ​Guaranteed Data Quality

​Inaccurate or incomplete source data often causes delays in migration projects. By analyzing existing data, OpenPDM ​Migrate protects you against unforeseeable project risks. At the same time, OpenPDM Migrate validates ​your data to ensure a high level of data quality in ​your target system.

4. ​Optimum Process Monitoring

​​OpenPDM Migrate gives you graphical monitoring ​to guarantee ​your migration process is monitored in an optimum manner. If​ your system administrator detects errors during data transfer, they can intervene in the migration process using the solution's soft stop functions.

5. ​CAD Data Migration

​The optional CAD conversion functionality not only allows migration to a new PLM system but also migration of the CAD data to a new CAD system. Additional OpenPDM ​Migrate modules are available for this purpose. They enable flexible conversion with integrated quality checking to ensure a high level of data quality in the target system.

6. ​High Level of Cost-Effectiveness

​OpenPDM MIGRATE allows project runtimes to be calculated. Temporary use of the solution ensures a fast return on investment (ROI).

Start your data migration discussion with PROSTEP by contacting us below.

Work with PROSTEP

Tel: +1​ ​877.678.3701

​Email: [email protected]

Questions? Contact Us

Send Message
Contact us by filling out the form below.

​Customer Testimonial

Walterscheid Powertrain Group approached ​PROSTEP in January of 2018 to request a quote for migrating PDM data from one of our Windchill servers to another, in an effort to consolidate a legacy system with our higher usage production system. 

Each of our two Windchill configurations was set up differently and hosted overseas in Europe, with different lifecycle states, revision schemes, classification systems, attribute types, etc., so our migration needs were not quite as simple as we originally thought it might be.

Based on the direction that our company was taking, our project scope changed directions and changed in size multiple times through the early stages of our communication with ​PROSTEP. ​PROSTEP worked with us until we had finally resolved exactly what we wanted to do and were able to provide us a quote for the migration by early July 2018. 

The quote met our timing requirements to line up with our company’s budget discussions and approval process. The quote also met our cost expectations. We kicked off the project with a purchase order in August 2018 and ​PROSTEP worked closely with us and our IT team in Europe to map out exactly what and how we wanted to move our data. They helped us fine tune our scope, which we found fluctuating on almost a weekly basis. They provided a very detailed project plan and requirements document, that we agreed to in October 2018. At this point in time, ​PROSTEP was really able to start the project implementation. 

PROSTEP worked very closely with our international team to define test cases and run through the migration of test data samples until the migrated data was performing exactly as we needed it to. Once we had completed initial testing to our satisfaction, ​PROSTEP ran through two migration rehearsals using a sample set and complete set of data, and provided remediation after each migration.

​Our production migration was completed at the end of March 2019, in line with our strict project deadline. In the end, we had trouble with some legacy data that had previously been migrated from another system more than twenty years prior, but we had an extremely low error rate through the migration rehearsals and ultimately through the production migration. We were very happy with the migration results and would call the project a big success.

Ultimately PROSTEP's most valuable strength for us was keeping our project on a strict schedule and advising us any time our internal delays posed any risk to delay the project. The proposed project timeline was realistic, reasonable, and ultimately achieved to within a week of the original outlined schedule.”

-Kirk Jones, Product Engineering Supervisor

Waltersheid Powertrain Group

​Use Case

Schmitz Cargobull AG

Migration of all business domains to a common Teamcenter Platform including CAD to NX Translation

How did PROSTEP help?

  • Design migration strategy
  • Provide and configure a migration toolkit based on OpenPDM Migration
  • Execute CAD-translation
  • Execute PDF-migration

Overall results:

  • ​Helped reduce system landscape
  • Enabled end-to-end engineering process in Teamcenter between all business domains
  • Eliminated error prone data exchange between legacy systems


Best Practices in PLM Migrations

OpenPDM Migrate is the migration framework built on PROSTEP's OpenPDM solution. OpenPDM is a vendor neutral solution, connecting product data to streamline your product development processes. With OpenPDM, you will be able to integrate and migrate product data through a variety of systems. PROSTEP’s integration and migration connectors enable you to easily manage your product data with both out-of-the-box and customized solutions for your use case. OpenPDM features:

  • CAx Integration/Migration
  • SDM/ERP Integration/Migration
  • PDM/PLM Integration/Migration
  • OSLC, Web Services, STEP, XML and other Integration/Migration solutions

​Download the OpenPDM Data Sheet

​Integration and Migration Solutions from PROSTEP

OpenPDM - PLM Integration and Migration

OpenPDM Connectors Enable Integration, Migration and Collaboration with Your Environment

OpenPDM Connectors for Integration, Migration and Collaboration




3 Keys to a Successful PLM 

Migration with SIEMENS

3 Keys to a Successful PLM   Migration with SIEMENS - Presentation


Integration/Migration of CAD Data in 3DEXPERIENCE

Integration/Migration of CAD Data in 3DEXPERIENCE


​Best Practices in Engineering Migrations

​Best Practices in Engineering Migrations - Webinar Slides

Work with PROSTEP

Tel: +1​ ​877.678.3701

​Email: [email protected]

Questions? Contact Us

Send Message
Contact us by filling out the form below.