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POWER > Business Strategy > Migration

Migration Factory Makes Switching to IBM Easy


llustration by Daniel Horowitz

Moving is one of life’s most stressful events. It ranks just below a change in job responsibilities. Of course, IT executives faced with a migration from one computing platform to another are dealing with both of those issues concurrently.

Platform migrations seem fraught with risk: Can the project be done? More to the point, can it be done within budget and on time? Will the required resources be available? And in the end, will the new platform work? The answer to all of those questions must be yes, because if the project doesn’t succeed, you might find yourself dealing with an even bigger stress source—finding a new job.

You can cope with stress in all of the usual ways—exercise, meditation, mangling that little foam Martian on your desk—or you can choose the simple route with IBM Migration Factory. Leveraging a team of worldwide experts, Migration Factory can assist your cross-platform move to whatever level you require, from general planning to hands-on workload migration.

“A migration to IBM hardware is an easy process, made so by the IBM Migration Factory and the work they do,” says Paul Blatchley, SAP manager at geographic information systems software specialist Esri, which switched its SAP environments and databases from stand-alone servers to IBM Power Systems* and XIV* storage solutions. When Adobe* Systems decided to jettison its fragmented, unreliable platform in favor of a Power Systems solution, it turned to Migration Factory to ensure a seamless changeover. “We needed a partner that had done it in the past, and it was very clear that IBM Migration Factory was the number one choice in terms of the core competency and the value they brought to the table,” says Atul Gupta, Adobe’s senior manager, core infrastructure services.

 

Why Migrate?

Business needs change by the week, and your computing platform must keep up. Often, a simple server refresh isn’t enough. At the same time, migrating to a new platform sounds difficult and expensive. Plenty of companies think sticking with their current HP or Sun platform will let them avoid migration and its associated costs. That’s not necessarily the case. Oracle’s plan to end support of Oracle on Itanium may force customers into a migration, for example. Meanwhile, seemingly simple upgrades like a shift to Sun Solaris 11 aren’t so simple after all.

“Migrating to Linux* on x86 servers is no easier than moving to AIX* and Power Systems,” says Michael Prentice, senior manager, worldwide sales and delivery, Migration Factory at IBM Global Business Services. “Based on anecdotal evidence, there’s a lot more involved in upgrading to Solaris 11 than people will tell you. Comparing a move within HP or Sun to a migration to Power Systems is not so much an apples to oranges comparison as it is Granny Smith to Delicious.”

Good reasons to upgrade your computing resources abound. Adobe, for example, switched its SAP environments and Oracle databases from hundreds of stand-alone servers to a private cloud environment based on just five Power* 770 boxes running PowerVM* virtualization, saving on everything from administrative costs and licensing fees to energy and cooling costs. Switching platforms can also be strategic, since the available pool of resources declines over time for older technologies, as demonstrated by the example of Oracle and Itanium.

When it comes to upgrading your computing resources, though, it’s not enough to choose the best platform. You must develop a strategy for migrating your workloads from the old hardware to the new hardware without losing data, impacting system performance or disrupting a critical business function. Migration typically must take place without an increase in IT headcount. And because business never sleeps in a global economy, the process must be transparent to users, which is nowhere near as easy as it sounds.

“Most people think a migration project is just like any other IT project but it’s really not,” Prentice says. “It has similarities to doing a server refresh but it’s not a server refresh. It has similarities to doing new application development or major application upgrades but it’s not.”

Migration is as much about managing risk as it is about transferring workloads. Those risks can range from the technical (e.g., whether required ISV products are supported by the target platform) to the human (how your organization transitions system administrators and application development teams to the new platform) and all points between. Above all, the underlying business drivers mandate adherence to budget and schedule, which can be difficult with a process involving so many variables.

Enter IBM Migration Factory, which has performed more than 7,200 competitive displacements over the past five years alone http://ibm.co/L3iEiq. Migration Factory has a straight­forward mandate: Streamline the process of moving customers to an IBM platform, mitigate risk and reduce the cost of migration. In the hands of the Migration Factory team, cross-platform migration becomes a well-understood, well-defined process.

“A risk is truly only a risk if you haven’t developed an appropriate plan to mitigate it,” Prentice says. “The trick in managing migration risk is knowing what to look for, understanding how what you find is going to affect the migration, and then planning for it.”

Ashraf Omar, manager, SAP basis team at Adobe, says his team went live in eight waves. “[IBM] came with their own project manager, their own project plan, their own documentation. They had the same experienced people working on the system with each wave, so by the time we were doing the production system—the most critical wave of all—there were no surprises.

Kristin Lewotsky is a freelance technology writer based in Amherst, N.H.



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