The Business Challenge 

One of our customerswith a business relying on 24×7 critical systems needed to tidy up its data centre hosting and reduce costs by exiting a legacy on-prem data centre and moving workloads to the IBM Cloud. 

They asked us at IT Naturally to do this in 30 days, during Coronavirus lockdown. We, of course, accepted the challenge of exiting 100 servers and migrating all the data in this time. 

How We Prepared for It 

At IT Naturally we believe it is all in the planning. We followed a methodology of dividing workloads into different categories, starting with business applications vs. infrastructure applications, like Active Directory, so we could focus on the different areas of the business to work with. 

Through close working with the business we then discussed and agreed which workloads were still required and which could be retired. 

The workloads to be retained were re-hosted, re-platformed and refactored. 

We then further split the workloads between Windows and Linux and physical to virtual and virtual to virtual enabling us to design migration methods and inform the business about expected downtime for each method/workload combination. 

We went to great lengths to schedule downtime with all parts of the business, recognising that we only had 30 days available to us. 

Meetings with all parts of the business were held 3 times a week where we discussed scheduling and captured detailed steps for each migration in run books. These included expected durations for each step and most importantly checkpoints for deciding if/when a roll back would be required and the process for rolling back. 

The team at IT Naturally designed the full solution using multiple constituent parts from the IBM cloud to ensure network connectivity was in place, hosting, load-balancing and storage was right-sized, and backup and monitoring solutions were in place. 

IT Naturally also designed the solution for securing the workloads in the new cloud utilising virtual firewalls available in the IBM Cloud and integrating the new cloud servers with our SIEM platform. 

Before we started the migration, we created the necessary knowledge for our Service Management and Technical Operations teams. We tested migration speeds throughout to understand how much we could migrate in parallel. 

The Actual Migration 

Another important part of our migration is communication. 

It’s essential to ensure close dialogue between the IT Naturally teams and the IBM team we were working with in Hungary. 

We followed our standard change management processes and utilised our 24×7 Service Desk to manage and track the technical changes round the clock ensuing progress remained on track, and escalations were made when issues came up. 

Our communication tool of choice was Microsoft Teams, it enabled non-stop dialogue between all parties round the clock on chat or with face-2-face video meetings. 

Before starting migration for each service or application a Go / No Go meeting was held, chaired by our Head of Service Management. In this meeting we ensure all stakeholders were present and actively acknowledged on behalf of the business and IT the change was starting and accepted the potential risks. It was at this time that we also confirmed all resources for the change were available and had access to everything required. 

The Result 

If we can say so ourselves the migration was a huge success. All workloads were migrated 3 hours before the 30 days was up. 

We believe having everyone working from home during Coronavirus lockdown actually made this easier rather than harder; the modern-day communications were brilliant, and the resources weren’t commuting meaning we could kick work-off round the clock and keep fixing when any little issues occurred.  

All in all the teams at both IT Naturally and IBM worked together to the highest standards and pulled off a great challenge in challenging times. 

Please watch our video to see who was involved and exactly how we did it. 

If you need help tidying up your data centreunderstanding where savings can be made and the solutions available to you, please do get in touch on 0208 016 2125 or enquiries@ITNaturally.com 

 

If we can say so ourselves the migration was a huge success. All workloads were migrated 3 hours before the 30 days was up.