Eliminating Downtime when Moving to the Cloud
Migration downtime can be a killer, but maybe not so much if you are only moving software applications to the cloud when other employees at you firm are at home eating their evening meal. The problem these days is that so much of our business takes place 24 hours a day and that means even the slightest downtime can cause issues. Also, when was the last time you did a five minute job that actually took five minutes?
Many third party software packages exist to can minimise your transfer from local computing to the cloud. We recently decided to use cloud computing solutions from Dell after look at several options, but eventually opting for Dell data management options primarily for cost reasons. The problem is that our workforce is located in more than one time zone and that meant that members of staff would need access to our servers throughout the night and any downtime could cause problems for someone somewhere. To eliminate this (or attempt to), we used software called Double-Take Move with reasonable success. We had minor issues and a red hot phone for thirty minutes or so, but in reality, it was a successful operation.
The Real Trouble Started
After moving our main database servers to the cloud, we decided that take the next step and migrate our email to our newly installed Exchange Server that came as part of our solution. What we didn’t realise was that in order to successfully migrate our local Exchange Server 2007 to our new Exchange Server 2013, we would need to include Exchange 2013 in our existing setup before we attempted to migrate.
Three hours of downtime later and what seemed like a million miss-placed emails and our earlier triumph was quickly forgotten. In reality, it was lucky that we only planned to move one exchange server that day because that limited the number of users that suffered. In hindsight, it would have been a better idea to limit the migration to just our IT department server because it would have saved us a massive headache and we would still have had the plaudits for a successful migration of our main servers.
What Did We Learn
Like all self-respecting IT geniuses, we all believed that we knew everything there was to know about a simple Exchange server migration. That illusion was short-lived as we humbly admitted defeat and settled back to read the documentation that comes with the Microsoft Deployment Assistant.
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