With increasing frequency, clients have been interested in learning how to migrate EVMS data from Deltek Cobra 4.7 to 5.0 with the lowest amount of risk. There are several things to consider before undertaking the migration.
First, the best approach may depend on your current situation. If you have an in-progress program that has just a few months left to run, you may find that sticking with that installation is the safest option. That’s particularly true if you’re reporting the results of your EVMS to the government each month; a change in the numbers due to some unforeseen migration issues may cause confusion. On the other hand, if your project is due to run for a year or more, there is a database migration path whereby you can completely copy the contents of your existing Cobra 4.x database over to a new 5.0 database.
It’s called the Data Conversion wizard, and it can be found in the Deltek Cobra 5.0 Administration menu. This utility only works if your data is in Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle. If you’re using the FoxPro database that came with Cobra, you’ll need to use a different approach; you’ll need to backup the project, setup a Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle database, restore the project in the new database, and then do the conversion. Cobra works quite well with Microsoft SQL Server Express, which is a free 5 user version that you can download from http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2005/en/us/express.aspx. This is a good option if you’re trying out Cobra 5.0, but aren’t quite ready to invest in mainstream database setups.
The bottom line is, if you have a project that has some worthwhile time left to run, you should seriously consider using the Data Conversion option. I’ve tested it on several major projects and I have found that Deltek have done an excellent job with this tool. It’s well-documented in the installation guide (DeltekCobra50SP2InstallationGuide.pdf) and it works as advertised. The only tricky part is setting up the ODBC Data Sources, but if you already have a working installation of Cobra 4.7 and Cobra 5.0, the data sources already exist. Here’s a diagram showing the tools and basic data flow used for a conversion.
During the conversion process, you can select the projects and files you wish to convert using simple selection dialogs.
I recommend printing some standard reports, such as CPRs, from both systems and comparing the numbers line by line to make sure the reports are identical.
The following is a screen shot of a CPR Format 1 report from a real project (with control account names redacted, of course) in which I converted from Cobra 4.7 to 5.0 using the Data Conversion utility. In the upper window you can see the numbers reported in the 4.7 version of the CPR and in the lower portion you can see the same project after it was converted to version 5.0. The numbers in each CPR are identical.
If you’re still not comfortable with the conversion process, you might want to keep your existing projects in the 4.7 system, and set up new projects in the generation 5.0 system as they come on line. This would give your team an opportunity to learn the workings of 5.0 on the new projects, while continuing to update the old projects in the legacy system. This is, of course, the safest way forward. However, once your team gets exposed to Cobra 5.0 and the infinitely more user-friendly interface, they may want to migrate the old projects to the new system.
It’s important to note that you can have both generations of the Cobra system co-existing on the same machine. This is possible because the two generations use different underlying technologies, namely FoxPro for generation 4.x and Dot Net technology for generation 5.x, so they don’t interfere with each other. There is no need to buy a new server or virtual machine; you can just install the new version on the same system. I have both generations on my laptop. This makes data conversion easy because I have common access to the cobra.ini file, which is necessary for the conversion process.
If you need help with project migration, or anything else project-related, give Ten Six a call. We have a wealth of ideas and approaches that could be applied to your particular situation.