Archive for March, 2013

Lessons Learned From Virtual Migration

Posted on: March 12th, 2013 by webadmin No Comments

During the course of the last few weeks, The Network Team has migrated from a mostly VMWare infrastructure to a pure Microsoft Hyper-V environment. This story is big enough to tell everyone we can.

To begin, the justification was easy: cost. Sure, as a provider, we do not pay industry standard rates on any of the products that we sell or service. However, there is time associated with taking care of things as well as supporting the applications that run our business.

We had +/- 15 production servers that did our jobs: domain controllers, exchange, voice, backup, A/V, SQL, our line of business apps, etc. We had mostly Windows-based products, but there were also some Linux/Unix products that were a part of our day-to-day business.

We purchased new physical hosts (that means servers) and created a new Hyper V network. We used Microsoft Systems Center to contact and integrate with the existing VMWare network and performed a “V to V” (Virtual to Virtual) conversion to switch from VMWare’s structure to Microsoft’s structure. We migrated all the servers and applications over the course of a few nights, and the user community internal to the company (me included) didn’t know that the changes occurred. That meets my definition of a good platform upgrade; no one needed to know what was happening!

There were some lessons learned. Let’s say a customer currently has two servers running VMWare and they want to migrate to Hyper-V. If one host does not have the capacity to hold all VM’s (Virtual Machines), an additional host will be required to perform the migration. Also, if you plan to deploy a Hyper-V infrastructure to be in a cluster (High Availability), the servers need to have sufficient RAM and Processor capacity to run the entire network in case one of them has a physical outage, which does happen.

For TNT, we needed one extra box to do the migration. And now, we can do more on our servers, and we have exactly one tool to use to manage our server hardware, software and virtualization that sits on top of it.

Oh, yes, it is about the money. VMWare tools cost money, and you have to pay for them every year. Windows Server 2012 standard edition comes with the version of Hyper-V needed to do what TNT did. Free is good, especially when it does all that you need it to do.

There is a good reason that the trade rags called 2012 VMWare’s last year as king. Free will beat out the pay-per-version, if they do the same things, over time.

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The Network Team