About Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit
The Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit provides 150,000 people with a wide range of public health services, including everything from immunization clinics to well-water analysis to restaurant inspections.
The Health Unit needed a software tool that would make the migration as time-efficient and non-disruptive as possible.
Some years earlier, the Health Unit had invested in a PlateSpin Forge appliance from Micro Focus to provide high-performance disaster recovery for its IT landscape. It decided to use another solution – PlateSpin Migrate – to manage the transition to its new, fully virtual environment.
“We compared PlateSpin Migrate with tools from other proprietary and open-source vendors, and two features really stood out,” Lockhart said. “First, most products don’t support multiple operating systems, so you might need to use one tool for Windows servers and another for Linux; PlateSpin Migrate handles both. Second, PlateSpin Migrate supports real-time, high-performance block-level replication, which a lot of other tools just can’t match.”
The solution’s replication capabilities allowed the Health Unit to take a point-in-time copy of each of its servers, without taking them offline. The tool then automatically built replicas of each server in the new virtualized environment. Once the new virtual servers were up and running, the final step was to update them with any new data that had changed on the source servers during the build process.
PlateSpin Migrate enabled the Health Unit to migrate all 40 of its servers into its new virtualized environment while incurring just two or three minutes of downtime per server.
“With a traditional approach, you’d be taking each server offline for up to four hours,” Lockhart said. “It would be almost impossible to avoid some kind of disruption to service delivery, unless you did the migrations one by one over a large number of weekends. Whereas we started our project in early December and completed all 40 migrations within three weeks, ahead of the holidays!”
The Health Unit also completed this fundamental transformation of its IT landscape with absolutely no impact on its employees or the public.
“Service delivery was completely unaffected, and we had zero calls to the IT helpdesk,” Lockhart said. “As all IT people know, when you’re not hearing complaints, that means you’re doing it right. PlateSpin handled the migration quickly, efficiently and smoothly – and as far as staff and clients were concerned, it was business as usual.”