A genetics and biotechnology company needed to implement unified, full-service LIMS functionality across their organization. The existing production LIMS for the cell line development department had been performing below the desired speed and efficiency thresholds and lacked modern LIMS features. Part of the project was to migrate historical and current cell line development batch data from the legacy system to the new, configured LabVantage system.

The client is implementing a continuing rollout of LabVantage LIMS into new departments. This project is ongoing with the full go-live still some months in the future at the time of this writing.

Objectives and Challenges

The client’s goal was to lean their processes while simultaneously retaining legacy LIMS data in the new LIMS. Achieving these goals faced a number of challenges.

  • The MySQL legacy system database integrity was compromised or missing, on multiple levels.
  • The system customizations lacked referential integrity.
  • Inflight data was included in the migration scope, although many data migration projects only migrate legacy data.
  • Master data was inconsistent across the legacy system with little to no interface validation and was changing right up until the migration go-live.
  • Documented processes did not exist because the legacy data was in a non-GxP system.

Significant work was required by the business in liaison with the CSols Data Migration Lead to identify the data and its requirements, then to clean and conform the data so that it was integral and acceptable in the new GxP-compliant LabVantage system.

Scope creep and constant changes to the requirements within the data migration and larger implementation project caused timelines to be pushed out further than initially expected, by at least one year. Timelines and deadlines were updated as the business added to the scope.

Despite a very basic level of extract–transform–load (ETL) tools, no database-to-database connectivity, and limited support from the client’s IT staff, the CSols Data Migration Lead was able to work around the issues.

CSols’s Role in the Solution

The technical details and ability to develop the solution are where the complexity lies in this kind of project. This project required expert SQL and JavaScript skills, from someone who knew the LabVantage product and could analyze the legacy database effectively. CSols was trusted by LabVantage to provide a knowledgeable resource with rare expertise to develop the data migration analysis and code the migration solution with proper validation. The CSols Data Migration Lead accomplished the following tasks in the course of this work:

  • Analysis of legacy data for conformance with business rules and alignment with new LIMS use
  • ETL processes to move the data from the legacy database into the new LabVantage LIMS
  • Development system upgrade from LabVantage 8.3 to 8.7 mid-project
  • Master data migration and deployment
  • Guide the business on data management practices, data conformance, and clean up for the most efficient solution available
  • Design and build storage inventory solution
  • Work around product limitations and requirements to ensure all migrated data is available and workable in the new system
  • Provide development-level troubleshooting and solutions during a closely integrated development process
  • Monitor and correct legacy data falling out of conformance with FRS; update the FRS to maintain alignment
  • Business analysis and development
  • Client advocacy and liaison between LabVantage vendor development and the business to ensure system compatibility


The client will realize multiple benefits from the work of the CSols Data Migration Lead on the updated LabVantage 8.7, including the following:

  • Meet business needs and process flows more effectively and efficiently
  • Retain decades worth of legacy Result, Cell Bank, and Cell Line genealogy data
  • Advanced storage inventory management
  • Consolidated ELN features into one system

A short-term benefit was the availability of an additional LabVantage development subject-matter expert to answer questions as they came up. Long-term benefits will be the retention of the client’s decades of legacy data and a unified LIMS with full-service functionality for use across the organization. The client will have all desired data available in the new system, per user requirements. The goals and objectives were met as measured with respect to the validation acceptance criteria, providing a GxP-compliant system for company-wide use.

Click here to download the PDF of the Data Migration in LabVantage LIMS for a Biotechnology Company case study.

Click here to check out more lab informatics project case studies that CSols has worked on.


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