Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Migration Training

Starting this week Harbor Computer Services has entered into 6 weeks of migration training. We'll be meeting on Tuesday evenings  to go through the process of migrating from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008. Practice makes perfect.

Doing this migration as outlined by Microsoft practically takes a village and also leaves a lot of vulnerability and really poor restore possibilities. They provide a 21 day window within which to complete the migration and suggest that we should plan for a couple of weeks and leave the remaining days just in case. I'm sure that idea if we proposed it to you would go over like a lead balloon. We're calling this the open heart surgery method. As in once you start you can't stop and either it works or the patient dies on the table. If the patient dies during open heart surgery there's no magic Go Back button. Should the Microsoft method take the required 2 weeks and you get that far into it and it fails, you have to put the network back to where it was 2 weeks ago and start all over! The potential for data loss and network down time is staggering and we will not be following that path.

We believe that our practice and method development will result in a 2 day migration with zero down time. The only time the network will be disrupted will be as we switch from the current firewall to the new one and this will happen very quickly. Every other part of the migration can happen during business hours and without disruption.

For six weeks we'll be practicing this over and over again on our own network. Then we're going to test it on a real client, in a virtual practice environment. Then we'll live migrate our server. Finally if all of the tests for the next 6 weeks are successful, we'll migrate the first client for real. Using this method we will be able to test the migration of each server before performing it live. This testing process will uncover any unique gotcha's that we might encounter and give us the opportunity to prepare and resolve those before migration day arrives.

The opportunity to provide a zero down time solution has never been so well in reach and I'm really excited to be able to provide this type of migration. It's been an IT person's dream since 1995 when the first Zero Administration toolkit was published. It of course didn't work, but it was a start. The future is finally here.



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