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Sever Migration Failures & Successes

Posted on 1.29.2015

Completing a server migration is one of the most sweat inducing and stressful times that companies have to go through.

Not only must every single digit of information be successfully copied from the old server to the new one, but it must be done while keeping a website operational. As Migration Mitigation states, it is important to understand not only the risks that are associated with a server migration but also the process that accompanies it.

The first part of the process is coming to the realization that the need to migrate servers is there. In the case of Transactis, an electronic billing platform, this came after the examination of the cost of its current setup.

“We were operating two separate data centers that created additional costs and overhead,” said Transactis SVP of Operations Scott Mabry. “One of the data centers did not provide the level of capability and compliance we require for our facilities. Consolidating data centers would allow us to address these issues. In addition the migration provided the opportunity to complete some much needed hardware upgrades.”

After companies come to this realization, it is important that they understand the difficult task ahead of them and everything that goes into the migration before they put any plans into motion.

Tom Shawver, chief technology officer of Technology Advice, a company that connects buyers and sellers of business technology and is currently in the process of migrating servers, stated “It's not just servers that you're migrating. Everything from cloud providers to colocation facilities offer families of services that could automate workflows or reduce maintenance in ways you may not have expected. It's always worth the time to dig into what else comes with the deal, so you can plan to take advantage of those things from the start.”

When asked what he’d do differently if he had to do the process a second time, Shawver stated “Most companies have more than one application or web property on the servers that they're moving, and often only write detailed plans and timelines to get the core, revenue-driving assets moved to the new facility. As such, the stragglers that hold the tail end of the migration back can stretch out the timeline and budget if they're not properly planned for, forcing operations to maintain double the systems at once. Before beginning, do a full audit on the systems you're moving, and make sure everything is on the timeline!”

The time it takes for the process of a server migration to be completed is unique, there is not standard cookie cutter timeline. Even though Transactis’s migration took six months, Scott Mabry stated that if they had realized the time and effort associated with walking the customer coordination team through the process they would have started that phase of the process earlier in their migration.

“What seems obvious and easy to understand to internal teams can be perceived by customers as complicated or confusing, particularly if the communications do not reach the right people at the customer organization,” said Mabry when talking about challenges that companies underestimate when performing a server migration.

To complete the process of a server migration is one that demands careful planning and follow through.

While some setbacks are likely to take place, the companies that took their time and did their research are bound to see the fruits of their labor.

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