The company had a mixture of physical and virtual servers in its global IT infrastructure, the virtual servers based on VMware. For technical and financial reasons, the company wanted to centralize everything to virtual Windows servers on Microsoft Hyper-V.
With limited bandwidth available on its WAN, and unreliable connections in some geographies, performing exclusively WAN-based migrations would have been time-consuming and required extensive production downtime.
Equally, the company could not afford long periods of downtime, so a "lift-and-shift" migration of the physical hardware was also not an option.
The automotive company chose PlateSpin® Migrate from our company to power its ambitious global data-center consolidation project.
PlateSpin Migrate decouples workloads from their host infrastructures, making it fast and simple to move them from physical to virtual, virtual to virtual, or virtual back to physical again. It supports a large number of source and target environments, including physical workloads to Hyper-V and VMware virtual machines to Hyper-V.
A spokesperson for the automotive company said: "PlateSpin Migrate gives us the built-in support we need for Hyper-V migrations, and the commercial model suits our needs perfectly. When we buy a license for a workload, that license is perpetual: we can migrate to and from physical and virtual resources with no restrictions. For some other tools we considered, each migration would incur an additional fee."
While PlateSpin Migrate is highly tolerant of low-speed and unreliable WAN connections, the automotive company decided to accelerate the migration by taking advantage of the solution's staged migration capability.
For those migrations, the approach was as follows. The company performed an initial image capture (physical to image or virtual to image) for each physical or VMware virtual machine, and physically shipped them to the relevant new regional data center. Here, PlateSpin Migrate deployed the images as Hyper-V virtual machines (image to virtual), and the company tested them to confirm that everything was working as expected.
In the meantime, the applications continued to run as usual on the source infrastructure. When the testing was complete, the automotive company used the Server Sync functionality of PlateSpin Migrate to capture the interim changes that had taken place on the source systems and apply them to the virtual environments on the target infrastructure, using far less time and bandwidth than copying the entire workload.
"PlateSpin Migrate enabled us to apply a hybrid approach to migration," said the spokesperson. "We were able to do the 'heavy lifting' as a local imaging job, move the images to the new data center, build and test the target Hyper-V infrastructure, then copy any changes or updates over the WAN before switching production to the new infrastructure."
To date, the automotive company has successfully completed more than 1,000 server migrations using PlateSpin Migrate, and is on track to complete its global data-center consolidation program within the planned timeframe.
The solution has helped the company to significantly reduce potential disruption during migration.
The spokesperson explained: "The staged migration capability of PlateSpin Migrate enabled us to minimize disruption to the source production systems.
"We simply took the initial image, built and tested the target environment in our regional data center, then applied incremental updates to the initial image over the WAN. Without this capability, each migration would have required significant downtime, with a major impact on business users."
With built-in automated testing during the virtualization process, PlateSpin Migrate minimizes the time and effort required for technicians. It also provides automated migration of up to 40 servers concurrently, making it easier to tackle large migrations without over-stretching IT staff resources.
"PlateSpin Migrate is playing a vital role in helping us simplify and rationalize our IT infrastructure, ensuring that we can virtualize and centralize our servers quickly, efficiently and at low cost," said the spokesperson.