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Case study

When a Fraunhofer institute split in two, it used PlateSpin Migration Factory to move servers without service disruption


Fraunhofer IWES has grown to become a leading center for wind energy research and renewable energy policy. But over the years, its two divisions developed their own distinct profiles.

Christian Langer, CIO at Fraunhofer IEE, explains: “As the institute expanded, it became clear that while the two divisions share a common goal, they focus on different research. To make it easier to allocate activities more efficiently, the two divisions were separated to become independent institutes: Fraunhofer IWES and Fraunhofer IEE. Splitting an organization is much easier said than done, and one key concern for us was IT.”


Fraunhofer IWES and IEE rely on effective communication between researchers. Fraunhofer IWES has been using Micro Focus GroupWise for email, instant messaging, and document management for many years. Now, the organization had to find a way to migrate mission-critical mail and file servers for 550 users spread across 13 locations within a tight schedule and with as little disruption as possible to support the organizational restructuring.

Building on their long-term partnership, IT service provider and migration specialist Login-IT was tasked with ensuring a smooth transition of email and file servers for the newly-independent Fraunhofer IEE.

Georg Weber, Director and Senior Consultant Storage & Security at Login-IT, says: “It is essential that researchers can easily exchange information and ideas with each other. To minimize disruption, we decided to use Micro Focus PlateSpin Migration Factory to move virtualized Linux-based file servers and GroupWise workloads from Fraunhofer IWES to Fraunhofer IEE.”

To manage the scale and complexity across the distributed system landscape, it was crucial for the organization to test the migration thoroughly before switching over. Thanks to the integrated testing capability, the team was able to set up PlateSpin Migration Factory to automate the process for a fast, error-free migration.

Georg Weber comments: “Building on advanced features of PlateSpin Migration Factory, we automated the entire migration and testing process— saving us time and giving us peace of mind in the run up to the migration deadline.”


Using automated workflows and sophisticated functionality like incremental replication and Server Sync, the team moved mail and file servers from the Xen hypervisor to VMware via a Virtual to Virtual (V2V) migration. The production migration of GroupWise with 3 TB of user data was completed in just 15 minutes.

Christian Langer recalls: “Users were able to continue with their work as usual— there was no interruption to services during the cutover.” In total, the team migrated up to 1.5 TB of data per server. Based on this experience, Login-IT is considering using PlateSpin Migration Factory for an even larger migration project at Fraunhofer IEE. Georg Weber explains: “PlateSpin Migration Factory is a very powerful solution. Advanced configuration options and integrated testing minimize the risk of errors and reduce disruption. As an IT service provider, PlateSpin Migration Factory is the perfect tool for us to support large clients that want to move physical or virtual workloads onto cloud platforms— so-called P2C or V2C migrations— a business area that is becoming increasingly important for us.”

Implementation partner Login-IT also took advantage of the flexibility of GroupWise and integrated the solution with the organization’s central eDirectory to reroute emails as appropriate between different systems at Fraunhofer IWES and Fraunhofer IEE.

Georg Weber confirms: “Despite the complexity, we got everything up and running without a single email getting lost in the process— quite an achievement when you consider that some simulation experiments running on the scientific high-performance computing cluster generate 6,000 emails every single day.”

Christian Langer concludes: “Thanks to Login-IT and Micro Focus PlateSpin Migration Factory, we were able to set up Fraunhofer IEE as an independent organization quickly and easily, and provide researchers with the communication tools they need to get on with their work.”

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Fraunhofer IEE case study

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