Suppose you work at a law firm that has satellite offices in a number of major cities. Each office has previously taken responsibility for managing their own IT systems. The firm now wants to control the systems from head office, because inconsistencies between application versions are causing variations in case work.

You've been asked to upgrade the databases, and need to ensure the databases will be compatible with SQL Server 2019. First, you manually inspect stored procedures and configuration settings in each of the databases. Doing these steps manually takes a long time and is repetitive. After testing compatibility, you realize that you'll need a standard path for upgrading the databases. You'll also need to reassure the business that the databases will be of equal or improved performance after the upgrade.

The Microsoft Data Migration Assistant (DMA) tool compares a database's current version to a target version, and highlights any compatibility issues between them. DMA also advises you of new features in the target version you use to improve the performance of your database. Finally, DMA can upgrade your database.

In this module, you'll see how the DMA finds compatibility and performance issues in your databases before upgrading.

Learning objectives

In this module, you'll:

  • Decide if DMA is the best tool to use for a given administration task
  • Install DMA on your client machine
  • Identify compatibility issues before an upgrade
  • Upgrade a database using DMA


  • Experience in administering SQL Server databases
  • Knowledge of SQL Server editions and versions
  • Understanding of how to upgrade SQL Server databases