Case study

American Water minimized risk and increased the speed of a server migration using PlateSpin Migrate

As the company underwent significant growth, it needed an efficient and reliable way of migrating its application workloads from end-of-life to new hardware. American Water uses PlateSpin® Migrate from Micro Focus to migrate workloads to new physical servers or virtual machines in just hours, rather than weeks or months. It can also minimize the risk of hardware failure by refreshing hardware as needed. The company now has a more effective means of protecting business-critical applications.


American Water employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals whose mission is to deliver drinking water, wastewater services, and other related services to approximately 16 million people in 35 states as well as Ontario and Manitoba, Canada. “We require an extremely stable environment for our mission-critical applications. If the hardware we’re running is no longer supported, we can’t meet the high level of service we guarantee to our users,” said Matthew Larson, virtual infrastructure specialist for American Water. “The size of our data center has quadrupled over the past five years, and we still had a lot of old servers in use. It became imperative that we better manage and maintain hardware and application lifecycles, yet we had no way of moving workloads from one server to another without having to rebuild each system.”

The IT department uses VMware Converter to handle physical-to-virtual migrations but lacked the ability to perform physical-to-physical migrations. “We needed a solution that added flexibility beyond VMware Converter in order to support our ongoing hardware refreshes,” said Larson.


American Water selected PlateSpin Migrate. “A few of us had used PlateSpin Migrate in the past and knew its capabilities and what other products had to measure up to in order to meet our requirements,” said Larson. “We liked the fact that PlateSpin Migrate is so flexible and customizable. We can change the IP address from the old system to the new, or shut down the old system and automate the cutover if we choose to do so. Its support of multiple operating systems was also important to us.”

American Water has used PlateSpin Migrate to automate many physical-to-physical and physical-to-virtual server migrations. “Without PlateSpin Migrate, I don’t think we could have performed the required physical-to-physical server migrations,” said Larson. “We simply wouldn’t have the manpower to do it manually.”

In addition to streamlining physical workload migrations, PlateSpin Migrate played an integral role in virtualizing workloads. “PlateSpin Migrate solidified our virtualization approach, giving us the confidence that we could handle any situation that arose,” said Larson. “If there’s a complicated situation where we need to suspend a migration for one reason or another or install certain drivers, we have the flexibility to do so.”


Said Larson of American Water’s results, “Using PlateSpin Migrate, we can minimize the risk of hardware failure by proactively refreshing hardware as needed. We can now migrate multiple workloads to new hardware over a weekend, instead of building a new server from scratch, which would have taken one to two weeks to complete. The ability to perform concurrent workload migrations saves us even more time.”

For example, the company was able to transition an application server and database server to new hardware overnight. Without PlateSpin Migrate, it would have taken weeks to rebuild the system.

“Ultimately, PlateSpin Migrate has reduced the time, costs and risk associated with workload migrations,” said Larson. “By enabling us to effectively manage hardware lifecycles, we can ensure the stability of our mission-critical systems and guarantee a high level of service for our users.”

Next, American Water plans to deploy PlateSpin Protect as a disaster recovery solution for its Hyperion application. “PlateSpin Protect will eliminate any manual effort associated with maintaining a disaster recovery system,” said Larson. “We can grab an image of our Hyperion system for our disaster recovery environment, and keep that image in sync with the production system. This way, in the event of a disaster we can simply deploy that image and quickly recover the system.”

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American Water case study
release-rel-2019-10-2-2896 | Wed Oct 16 03:58:53 PDT 2019
Wed Oct 16 03:58:53 PDT 2019