Migrate Accelerate

This guide assumes that you have a website running on Drupal 7 or earlier and wish to migrate to the latest version of Drupal, Drupal 9. While we will not dive deeply into the magic of migration, it’s important to note that Drupal 9 represents an important next step in the evolution of Drupal. It consolidates what already existed in Drupal 8 and lays the foundation for what comes next, with more features and enhanced security and stability.

Here’s a sneak peek at what you get with Drupal 9:

  • Richer media management
  • Content workflows
  • Layout builder
  • Increased page load performance
  • Multilingual capabilities
  • Mobile experience, and much more!

Drupal 9 is also more evolved and advanced:

  • The backend has been written in modern, object-oriented PHP and front-end using the latest web standards.
  • It relies on Symfony 4 and requires at least PHP 7.3, leading to improved stability and security.
  • Drupal 9 moves to the latest versions of all dependencies (for example, Twig 1, to Twig 2).
  • Database version requirements have been increased for all supported database backends within Drupal 9, for improved security and performance.

To learn more about Drupal 9, see the Ultimate guide to Drupal 9.

What is Acquia Migrate Accelerate?

Acquia Migrate Accelerate is a set of tools designed to shorten the path to migrate or rebuild websites from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9.

While previous Drupal to Drupal major version upgrades involved running a series of update scripts on your live, production website (leading to long downtimes and backup restoration if things failed), when moving from prior versions of Drupal to Drupal 9 or later, you now build out your new website and migrate your content and functionality into it, leaving the production website up and running the entire time, flipping the switch at the end once you’re ready.

Acquia Migrate Accelerate helps you in the following ways:

  • It sets up a data source for your Drupal migration, creates a migration environment, and installs equivalent modules for your new Drupal 9 site.
  • It provides an interface to select and map data migrations, import data, troubleshoot errors, and audit content.
  • It provides an interface for you to launch your new Drupal site to Acquia Cloud.


Key features and benefits

Let’s take a look at some of the key features and benefits:

Dedicated migration environment

Included in your Acquia Cloud Enterprise (ACE) Platform Subscription, AMA will generate a dedicated environment for you, already set up with system requirements of Drupal 9, installed with Composer.

Module recommendation engine

The tool will also run your Drupal 7 module list against our list of known-good Drupal 9 replacements, and automatically add those modules along with any required patches to your Drupal 9 codebase.

Site builder-friendly terminology

Migrations are collected into site builder-friendly chunks and are not wrangling with complex developer terms (But don’t worry! These terms are still available under the Details tab.)

Acquia’s Expertise - Built In

A variety of core and contrib patches help harden migrations to make them more robust and successful. Acquia Migrate Accelerate automatically includes many of them, and our team is providing more upstream fixes all the time. Any module that our team has explicitly “vetted” will be enabled out of the box. We also make specific suggestions for migration messages that may occur.

Migration dashboard

The Migration dashboard provides an overview of the data migration process, including number of records imported, number of errors encountered, and the last import date.

Robust, dynamic user interface

Acquia Migrate Accelerate provides a JavaScript-driven UI in React for performing migrations, which allows less technical users to get a jump start on importing content, and allows for instant, dynamic updates to the interface as items complete.

Preview before migrating

Double-check the incoming data for accuracy, and see a preview of how your content will look. You can also look up specific high-impact items to check them over before importing.

Filterable error messages

Let’s face it; during a migration, errors will happen. View them easily in a filterable message console. Each migration will have different messages, but typically 96% of the messages include recommended solutions to help you solve them.

And, unlike Drupal core’s migration system, Acquia Migrate Accelerate will check for content validation errors as well, to spot data integrity problems on the Drupal 7 source site that might otherwise make their way over to your new Drupal 9 site.

Smart dependencies

Acquia Migrate Accelerate has advanced knowledge of which migrations depend on others, to ensure that they’re imported in the proper order without causing errors.

Support for import and rollback

Made a mistake? Found errors and need to fix them? No problem! Easily rollback migrations to attempt them again.

Queue one thing at a time, or multiple at once

Acquia Migrate Accelerate’s queuing system gives you the flexibility to import one migration at a time to check for errors, or try several at once.

Module Auditor

A dashboard that points to known issues in your contributed modules, and pointers on how to start porting your custom modules.

Content Refresh

Acquia Migrate Accelerate provides the ability to periodically refresh content and files from your production Drupal 7 site so you are always migrating current data.


Acquia Migrate Accelerate will help with the data import part of your migration, but afterwards you will need to also manage your custom code, including the look-and-feel. Acquia Migrate Accelerate cannot address porting code from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9.

You will need to manage your modules

The total effort to migrate your modules will depend on the mix of contributed vs. custom modules your site uses. Acquia Migrate Accelerate will help with the process by identifying and installing the contributed modules you will need for Drupal 9 based on what is installed on your existing site. You will still need to port custom modules and themes yourself. There are pointers for this on the Module Auditor page.

You will need a plan to manage your custom code

An inventory of the site’s integration code, APIs, and other custom functionality will give you some idea of what it will take to recreate this functionality in a new version of Drupal. Remember, there may be contributed modules that provide functionality you had to write custom code for in Drupal 6 or 7.

Is the site theme custom or contributed?

Your contributed theme may have been updated for Drupal 9, allowing you to shorten the development lifecycle for your migration project. A custom theme will require additional effort to migrate. Acquia Site Studio will help speed up theme-building by enabling you to use reusable components to build pages.

Other helpful resources

You might find these resources helpful as you prepare to migrate to Drupal 9:

  • Drupal 7 to 8/9 Module Upgrader: This project is a command-line script that scans the source of a Drupal 7 module, flags any code that requires updating to Drupal 9, points off to any relevant API change notices, and (where possible) will actually attempt to convert the Drupal 7 code automatically to the Drupal 9 version!
  • Upgrading from Drupal 6 or 7 to Drupal 9 or later: Community documentation on how to perform major upgrades.
  • Drupal has changed! We have the training you need! You and your team may require training before you can complete your migration and work with the resulting site. Check out our Drupal training offerings, or talk to your Account Manager to learn more about our public and private training options.
  • For more information on Acquia Migrate Accelerate, sign in to Acquia Academy and access the E-learning material.