November 6, 2017
A data center refresh is a necessary project for all IT environments at some point. Whether the infrastructure is at end of life or the needs of the environment exceed the equipment’s capabilities, it may come time to replace the old infrastructure with newer equipment. That prospect, however, opens up a number of questions, considerations, and pitfalls that must each be considered in turn. When our client contacted Mindsight to help in just such a project, we had to weigh all of these factors to successfully deploy the new environment.
Our client’s environment definitely was in need of a refresh. The infrastructure was both end of support and unable to keep up with the demands of the application workload, and their business depends on their technology. The client provided red light camera technology in the city of Chicago, so their network constantly received short video clips from their external cameras around the city through 120 VPN tunnels. Furthermore, the environment supported their website where drivers who receive a ticket can pay their fines. Without these two components, the business itself could not function.
The Solution and Complication
After consulting with Mindsight, the client ultimately decided on a converged infrastructure solution featuring Cisco UCS, Nexus switching, and Nimble hybrid storage. This new data center deployment would provide ample resources to meet the environment’s demands, but there was a complication.
Whenever a company refreshes their data center, they must migrate their data from their old infrastructure to the new. In most instances, this is a straightforward process, but there are issues that can arise. Our client was previously using a Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor in their environment, and the new environment was going to switch carriers to a VMware hypervisor.
VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V write their virtual machines in different formats. Hyper-V uses a VHDX format while VMware uses a VMDK format. Naturally, these formats are not interchangeable, and Mindsight needed to convert these VMs from one format to another. The problem with this process is that it can be time consuming, and there is a substantial risk component. Should the conversion be done incorrectly, the VMs simply won’t work on the new hypervisor.
The data center refresh was a success. The data migration was completed without further complication. All VMs were converted into the appropriate format, and the new hypervisor was able to proceed normally.
The applications, both internal and customer-facing, received a boost to their performance. Customers were able to log onto the website and pay their tickets without risk of the application crashing mid transaction. Overall, their line of business application received improved uptime and performance.
From here, our client is poised to provide a better service. They could support more cameras, save more video feeds, and service more customers through their website. When the core of a business is technology, a data center refresh improves the organization at all levels. Performance can be a driver of growth, and growth is often central to a business reaching its goals.
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