Discovering the Monster

If you ever have to manage an IT system migration, you will have plenty of potential conflicts. Based on what I have experienced in over a decade in the field, you may encounter something like this:

You accept a job at a great company managing a pretty sizeable IT environment. You’ve been made aware that stability and cost control will be your primary concerns. This includes moving the majority, if not all, of your infrastructure to “The Cloud” in the next 6 months!

You arrive enthusiastic, but, after a major outage in your first week, you try to triage with a root cause analysis. Each department in IT can only give an account of a few specific systems, so you ask for access to monitoring systems and to be added as a recipient of all critical alerts to get an overhead view.

That’s when you find out that such a system doesn’t exist in the department. You ask why, and one of your employees explains, “Johnny DBA doesn’t want us to monitor his program because he says he owns it.” Suddenly you realize why stability and cost control are your navigational goals: territorial thinking and departmental silos have led to a dysfunctional organization.

You ask your team for an inventory of all the systems, and over the next few weeks you dig further, uncovering more and more gaps in the inventory and even a feeble attempt at a coup, which results in the termination of one of the most tenured system admins. With his termination, knowledge of the oldest systems still clinging to the infrastructure leaves with him.

It’s at about this point that you realize you’ve inherited a monster:

  • Outdated servers running critical systems
  • Questionable backup processes
  • A staff with entrenched territorial thinking

I call this the Frankenstein of IT, and I learned early on in my career that only a formal inventory could protect my IT environment from the monster.

Taming the Monster

Introducing INAP’s AgileMigration Service

As the leader of your IT organization, the need for accurate and detailed reports is critical to your success. This includes things like:

  • The physical infrastructure – What hardware and how old
  • The application stack including versions, service packs and patches
  • Resource utilization – What is assigned to the host or guest v. how much is really needed

To migrate any environment, then, you want to call out gaps and issues as quickly as possible so that you can set real expectations. Performing a data audit will help you determine what budget is likely needed, who you will need to manage, and how to migrate the environment. You need to understand not only the infrastructure being moved, but also the inter-application dependencies and affinities. In other words, you need to know how any system works with each other system for any given report or service.

In talking with our customers, we found that they struggle to get this information in a timely manner. This was the primary driver for launching AgileMigration, a comprehensive white glove migration service.

The AgileMigration solution is comprised of three distinct phases: Map, Manage, and Migrate. In the Map phase, our noninvasive technology collects a complete inventory in the environment, including the application workloads and dependent systems across the network. In the Manage phase, detailed infrastructure inventory reports compiled from the data create a clear plan to migrate. Finally, our technology will Migrate your entire environment from your existing platform or cloud provider to new environments with minimal or no downtime.

AgileMigration

 

Discovery is the First Step

Whether you are looking to use INAP services or you have no intention to move but you need assistance auditing your environment, we can help. The AgileMigration service is made up of discovery tools, migration tools and professional services, each with a unique role to play.

For discovery, we will provide you with a physical or virtual appliance to set up in your environment to collect the details you need. We typically like to run the collection for a period of no less than two weeks, but we recommend at least a month to capture any end-of-month activity.

Our Agentless Deployment provides you with the following benefits:

  • No Software Prerequisites or server reboots
  • Lightweight, Quick implementation
  • No port scanning or packet interrogation
  • Affinity mapping
  • Discovers all equipment (servers, networking, security appliances and storage appliances)

To get the most from your discovery, Customized Detailed Reporting allows you to configure the information you need in exportable spreadsheets.

Banishing the Monster

Our AgileMigration service will lower your project costs by reducing personnel hours associated with manual discovery efforts and eliminating challenges associated with subjective data. More importantly, you will be able to keep skilled IT staff on projects that add value to your organization’s mission. Finally, our discovery provides a “source of truth”: using hard data for planning will help break down silos.

Once you have completed Discovery, you have several options for how to use the information. In the next blog post, I will detail how INAP can help your company through the Mapping and Migration phases.