Datacenter migration? We dont need no downtime


In this brief interview Wayne Lam walks us through a major datacenter migration accomplished...with no downtime. Part 4 of a 4 part series.


Dave Littman:                     Hey Dave Littman again Truth in IT, joined by Wayne Lam. Wayne is CEO and founder of Cirrus Data Solutions ( Wayne, welcome again.

Wayne Lam:                         Thank you David. Glad to be here.

Dave Littman:                     All right. So hey, we have a couple of videos that you should check out. We have one that talks about the problems that data center professionals face when it comes to migrating block level data for mission critical systems non disruptively. We talk about the solution that Cirrus Data Solutions has invented to overcome this issue, so check out that other video. And this video we're going to talk about a real world customer and what they experienced. So Wayne, take it away and take us through the story.

Wayne Lam:                         Glad to do that David. Such a wonderful technology you would think that there's a lot of customers using this on mission critical systems doing migration, and we have done lots of that.

                                                      So one nice example that I want to cite here is a major telco, and they have the need to consolidate their data center that was originally run by some other host of the service provider in two different locations, one in Connecticut and one in Delaware. They want to migrate both data centers and consolidate them into a Google Colocenter, or Golocenter.

                                                      So now the challenge there is really two fold. Number one, the source data center is pretty complex because it's a multi-tenant hosted environment, that the customer don't even know, they rent that. So whatever tools that you want to deploy at those two source locations is going to go through a lot of security scrutiny, the process approval. "What you're going to change my host driver? Oh, okay. Oh, you're going to touch my switch, oh my god." Now four other groups have to get involved and so on and so on. There would have been a lot of approval processes, and so on, and those processes can kill the whole project. Okay, so that's one.

                                                      The second is that at the destination data center, same thing. The Google Colocenter is a highly secure environment so whatever clients you want to deploy there in the process, have to be simple. And you cannot make too many changes to their firewall, and so on, in order to allow the data to come in. So those are the challenges.

                                                      So our tools were used to do those migrations. Okay, long story short is, is that because of the simplification that we make in the process, that we smooth the process, so there's no reconfiguration whatsoever, at the host, at the source or the storage. Those approval meetings went really fast. So when the department head for the switch, for example, said, "Oh, you're not gonna change any production zone? Oh, can I be excused?" And that's the end of that conversation.

                                                      So as you can see, it's the simplification does expedite such a large-scale complex product into a much simpler and easier to execute and low risk project.

                                                      So we migrated those two data centers, end to end, with only a few minutes of downtime for each application during their cut over. So throughout the deployment of the product and the migration of the data, there is no downtime whatsoever. And they're very happy. The customer was very happy even though I cannot mention the name of the customer. But of course if you're interested in hearing more about it, I'd be more than happy to personally give you more detail about it and maybe even arrange for a private reference.

Dave Littman:                     Okay, great. And just a couple questions on it, Wayne. So in terms of the environment itself, were they physical hosts as well as virtual? Was this a multi-tenant kind of environment?

Wayne Lam:                         Absolutely, yes. So there's a number of different hosts including physical hosts that are pretty complex, UNIX's, Solaris and HPUX and so on, but there are a number of Linux servers in a lot of VMware server. So you may be wondering and say, "Hey, VMware, don't they have a migration tool themselves called the vMotion?" And so on. But for a long distance like this and you want to do a massive migration, and yet without impacting the ESX host, you've got to do it in an off-loaded manner. So when we deploy our blue appliances in the diagram here, we certainly does it without any impact to the ESX host. So we can move hundreds of terabytes across a wire without impact. And that's what we do best.

Dave Littman:                     Okay great. And one last question for you, Wayne. What about security? Encryption involved when you're making a migration like this?

Wayne Lam:                         Absolutely. So there’s really a lot of nuisances and can really eat up a lot of approval meeting time. Okay so to connect the two sites together so that you can send data from site A to site B, what do we do to the firewall? What do you do? Do we need to join the VPNs together? So when vendor A on the old data center, and vendor B on the new data center are competitors, good luck getting those things done. So we are able to [inaudible 00:05:14] the entire discussion by saying, "We don't require any VPN." We do a direct TCP to TCP session. So all you need is at the destination, which is the new customer, so Google is more collaborative in that case. The source data center, "You're stealing my customer. I'm not gonna help out with you." That kind of a mentality. So yes, as a result, it's really simple. No VPN set-up. We just have building compression and, of course, encryption. So that solved the need for VPN between the two sites.

Dave Littman:                     All right. Very good. Wayne, thank-you very much for taking the time to speak with us today and thank-you for watching. Check out Cirrus Data at The link is down below. Check out the other videos that discuss the problems and the solutions and thanks again for watching. Wayne, thank-you. We'll see you again next time.

Wayne Lam:                         Thank-you, David.