Migrating Applications and Data from our Westboro (MA) Data Center to the Durham (NC) Cloud Data Center

Here is the latest update on our migration  to the Durham Cloud Data Center.  The Data Center is “live” and running production applications.  The bundling process (what applications must migrate together) has been completed.  This turned out to be more complicated than we had originally planned because of the high level of virtualization and consolidation (Data Base Grids) within our data centers.

Our first attempt at bundling was centered on the applications themselves.  Focusing the bundles on specific applications that must move together made perfect sense and, for the most part it, was always the way it was done.   When we were finished with our first pass it turned out that we had a handful of really, really large move events.  Because we are 75% Virtualized and have 8 Data Base Grids (4 SQL and 4 Oracle), we ended up with just about everything connected to everything!

We went back to the drawing board.  Because we had all the data in the MAD (Migration Access Database) we were able to re-bundle, focusing on the 8 Data Base Grids this time.   The team worked through all the application interdependencies and multi-tenant environments and came up with 21 distinct migration events that have been scheduled through 2012.  As of July 15th 2011 we have completed six events which represent 15% of the overall environments.

The first few events were really POC’s (Proof of Concepts) using different VM migration methodologies and tools as well as helping define the process which we will be using.  The team has decided to use VMware SRM (Site Recovery Manager) and swing storage to migrate the servers and data.  SRM has been a huge win for the team reducing risk and minimizing down time since most of the pre-work (building the new VM in Durham and data replication) can be done off line.  On the day of the migration, the migration engineers use predefined protection groups for each application migration (each protection group has multiple servers) to kick off multiple moves at once.   In a future blog I will be detail the SRM process we are using.

We have limited windows of opportunity to migrate the applications (typically 10 weeks each quarter) because of other ongoing projects and our end of quarter moratorium process.  Because of this we have three move events in the planning and execution process at any one time.

Our next migration is scheduled for mid-August.  This will be our last chance to shake out all the lessons learned from the previous migrations and stream line our processes before September 7th when we will be migrating our first Grid which consists of 29 applications and 75 servers.

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