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With shutdown just weeks away, a Parse migration expert offers advice

As the January 2017 demise of the Parse mobile backend as a service inches closer, a migration expert steps in with some last-minute advice. It's time to move your Parse.

Woe unto thee who hasn't completed his or her Parse migration projects by now. With just weeks to go before Facebook shuts down the Parse mobile backend as a service on Jan. 28, 2017, your apps and data should have been moved, tested and put into production by now.

Facebook acquired Parse in 2013, with plans to offer it as a mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) platform for developers to build and host apps that interoperated with the Facebook ecosystem. Changing business priorities prompted Facebook to announce in January 2016 that it would shutter the Parse service, giving developers a window of exactly one full year to migrate both apps and data. To help, Facebook published a migration guide to simplify the transition to any MongoDB database and opened up the Parse server code to the open source community.

At mLab, a MongoDB database-as-a-service provider based in San Francisco, co-founder and CEO Will Shulman became one of the leading forces in advising developers of Parse-hosted mobile apps regarding migration. He recently discussed the Parse shutdown with SearchCloudApplications.

Do you believe most migrations from Parse to developers' own servers running the open source Parse code or to a third-party platform provider have been done?

Will ShulmanWill Shulman

Will Shulman: We've worked closely with the Parse founders and team since last January to ensure a smooth transition for users migrating off of Parse.com. The priority was to move as many users off of the platform as quickly as possible, knowing that there will inevitably be the late movers.

How many Parse migrations are you hosting at mLab?

Shulman: We have already seen nearly 10,000 Parse applications migrate to mLab. From our communications with both Parse users and Parse leadership, we believe that the majority of apps used for serious production workloads have been migrated off the Parse.com platform. (Editor's note: Though published reports peg the total number of applications that ran on Parse at about 600,000, Facebook has not confirmed this.)

What is your advice for those laggards who haven't completed -- or worse, haven't started -- their Parse migration?

Developers need to find a comprehensive Parse migration guide and review all the steps before taking any action.
Will ShulmanCEO, mLab

Shulman: It's not easy to migrate application and database infrastructure; the migration process consists of many steps. To avoid confusion or mistakes, developers need to find a comprehensive Parse migration guide and review all the steps before taking any action. You can find the mLab migration guide in our documentation and the Parse migration guide on the Parse.com website. There's little time left and no room for error.

At this late date, with the shutdown just weeks away, what options are still viable for developers?

Shulman: Parse's mobile backend as a service encompassed both the server-side application and database tiers. If Parse users want to use the self-hosted Parse Server project without having to manage application or database servers, they will need to choose a Node.js platform-as-a-service provider -- we recommend Heroku -- and a MongoDB database-as-a-service provider, such as mLab.

Do you think Parse might announce a grace period that keeps the lights on after Jan. 28, 2017?

Shulman: We don't expect that to happen. Parse gave users a full year to migrate, and we think that they intend to stick with the original deadline.

Joel Shore is news writer for TechTarget's Business Applications and Architecture Media Group. Write to him at [email protected] or follow @JshoreTT on Twitter.

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