Application Share Migration

Scenario

In early 2017, our client began a data center migration program. However, it was soon realized that there were many Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices which could not be directly moved from one data center to another. These devices were used by departments, applications, individual users and business processes.

Due to the migration’s complexity, AustinCSI was hired to: a) develop a migration plan which would not interrupt functionality of the many financial and business applications used by those devices, and b) execute that plan.

Strategy

Planning

In order to create an appropriate roadmap for the project, the initial stage required significant research and collaboration with many parties. This included:

  • Identifying and documenting share attributes including:
    • External dependencies 
    • Location
    • Share Type
    • Largest Consumers (of space)
    • Current owner
    • Current users
  • Coordinating with share owners, users, and deskside support.
  • Creating a rigorous and ongoing communication plan regarding scheduling, impacts and any new share usage instruction, balancing between project needs and client needs.
  • Identifying shares for retirement.
  • Creating a migration schedule with owners
    • Each share receiving an individual planning due to complexity of ownership, stakeholders and usage.
  • Providing regular status reporting offering concise and relevant information.

We found that these areas of difficulty compounded onto themselves in self-perpetuating feedback.AustinCSI

Execution

Arriving at execution of the project presented a major obstacle. The shares in their current form had been in existence for thirteen years and there was little, often inaccurate, ownership documentation. Research into ownership and usage of the shares, and contacting those individuals, evolved nearly into a project of its own. In a last ditch (and successful) effort certain shares were scheduled for outage (with client leadership approval) in order to locate their users and owners via complaints.

Execution Specifics

Based on volume size, share relationships, and other factors, each share was assigned into a one of sixteen move groups, comprising 640 shares and a total of 125 terabytes. (We found that the initial estimate of size was conservative by over half)

  • As each move group was solidified, owners and technical stakeholders of each share designated a representative to work with the AustinCSI team during the migration and its subsequent acceptance testing. 
  • Move groups were migrated in overlapping batches, requiring that there were no data center outages.
  • Post migration functional and user acceptance testing.
  • Increased deskside support immediately following migration.
  • Decommissioned unused shares.

Throughout, a rigorous communication plan via email and skype was maintained with all owners, deskside support staff, and impacted users. This included repeated instructions for new share usage.

Results

The sponsors viewed these efforts as very successful.  Since this project was initiated to correct an oversight, they wanted resolution with little to no concerns, drama or attention.  AustinCSI was successful in accomplishing the migrations, while ensuring that there were no data center closures nor creating undue burden for share owners or users. Post migration testing was purely green. There were no issues not overcome in real time, which allowed production to continue without interruption.