Posts Tagged ‘tip’

Welcome to my series of short tips on migrations. Whilst based on Microsoft migrations the same principles can be applied to any type of migration.

My first tip Migration Tip #1 – Source Server Health can be found here: https://demazter.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/migration-tip-1-source-server-health/

My second tip Migration Tip #2 – The Practice Run can be found here: https://demazter.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/migration-tip-2-%e2%80%93-the-practice-run/

My third tip Migration Tip #3 – Preparing for Live Migration can be found here: https://demazter.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/migration-tip-3-preparing-for-live-migration/

My fourth tip is about the actual migration itself, you’ve done all the preparation, you have practiced and you’ve spoken to everyone with a vested interest.  Now it’s time to do the deed.  The actual migration.

My advice here, is to take your time, nobody will actually get affected by the migration until you move data.  If you are following a guide, then do so religiously.  I made the mistake on my very first migration of skipping a few steps because I thought I knew better.  Even if you think they don’t need doing, do them.  There is a reason these steps are in the guide.

Test each step as you go along, read it, read it again, then perform the step, then double check it.  Make sure you are happy with that the step is completed before you move on to the next one.

If you come across a problem or something you are not sure of, stop.  Don’t continue and think “it’s OK, I will sort that out later”.  Fix it now.  If you can’t fix it find someone who can help you before you move on.  There are some great Q&A sites out there where volunteer experts will help you. http://www.experts-exchange.com being my favourite and where I tend to hang out.  But it’s easier for the experts to help you if you haven’t continued past the problem.  Often continuing will cause you to create a bigger problem which will be more costly in terms of time and possibly money to resolve.

More importantly, if you encounter a problem that means you have to stop the migration then communicate this to the people using the system.  Make sure they know that what was your final deadline may now shift.  This makes sure you are not under any unnecessary pressure, and again, manages their expectation.

Performing a migration can be a stressful tasks, and lots of blue line watching.  So make sure you get away from the system whilst the installations are being performed.  The blue lines will still move if you don’t watch them.  And watching them will make the migration seem like it’s taking all that much longer.

Watch out for tip Migration Tip #5 – The Aftermath

If you are planning on a migration and are not comfortable with the process then Demazter IT Services can assist you. Please contact me on glen@demazter.co.uk.

All versions of Microsoft Exchange and Small Business Server require the use of an SSL Certificate. Whilst they will quite happily use a self-signed certificate a commercial certificate can save a lot of time and hassle, purchase Exchange/SBS SSL Certificates at an excellent price from: http://www.exchangecertificates.com

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Welcome to my series of short tips on migrations. Whilst based on Microsoft migrations the same principles can be applied to any type of migration.

My first tip Migration Tip #1 – Source Server Health can be found here: https://demazter.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/migration-tip-1-source-server-health/

My second tip Migration Tip #2 – The Practice Run can be found here: https://demazter.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/migration-tip-2-%e2%80%93-the-practice-run/

So, we now have a healthy source server and you have practice until the match sticks snap what next?

My third tip is about making sure you are prepared for the task ahead. Any type of migration needs to be taken seriously, it is a business critical operation you are about to embark on. If you are in any doubt about it at all, now is the time to say so, and if necessary call in help.

If you are happy with the process and confident you are able to complete the steps to achieve your goal then the next thing we need to do is plan a time to do it.

Most migrations are not time limited other than SBS to SBS migrations that have a limit of 21 days where both SBS servers can co-exist at the same time.

Make people aware of what you are doing, involve them, explain that you are expecting to have teething problems but would prefer if they collated them and then passed them to you when you ask for them. The last thing you want is to try trouble shooting whilst trying to complete a migration.

Find out if there is anything business critical happening (a big bid/contract etc that needs to be out just when you take the mail system offline) that could be delayed by the work you are carrying out, and if so, delay your migration. Talk to absolutely every member of staff. Manage Expectation.

In reality, if you get it bang on, the end users shouldn’t even notice and I would say 99% of the migrations I have done this has been the case. But there is always the odd one.

Have a recovery plan, know how to back out of what you are doing if it does go pear shaped. If you need to lock and migrate huge amounts of data then make sure you plan this stage of the migration for when people aren’t going to be using the system as heavily.

Document what you are doing, make notes of which stage you have got to and what action you have just taken.  This might seem like a waste of time, but take it from someone who has picked up a few failed migrations from people just like yourself, it’s not.  Knowing exactly what stage you are at will help a consultant very quickly get to grips with the situation and this means a faster resolution.

And, most importantly of all, make sure you have backups! Take more than one, take one off-site, and do it different ways. I like to have a backup on either removable storage so I can access it quickly but also on tape just to be sure.

Watch out for tip Migration Tip #4 – The Migration

If you are planning on a migration and are not comfortable with the process then Demazter IT Services can assist you. Please contact me on glen@demazter.co.uk.

All versions of Microsoft Exchange and Small Business Server require the use of an SSL Certificate. Whilst they will quite happily use a self-signed certificate a commercial certificate can save a lot of time and hassle, purchase Exchange/SBS SSL Certificates at an excellent price from: http://www.exchangecertificates.com/

Welcome to my series of short tips on migrations. Whilst based on Microsoft migrations the same principles can be applied to any type of migration.

My first tip Migration Tip #1 – Source Server Health can be found here: https://demazter.wordpress.com/2011/06/12/migration-tip-1-source-server-health/

My second tip is about making sure you are familiar with the technology you are migrating to.

For many people, migrating to a new technology will be the first and only time they perform this task. So, it’s always a good idea to familiarise yourself with the setup process before you do it for real.  With the use of virtualisation technologies we can install and test new products without the need for new hardware and without the possible impact on our live environment.

There are a number of virtualisation products that will allow you to do this on your desktop/laptop computer. You need to consider that most new products (if not all) will be based on x64 bit architecture. This does limit the virtualisation technologies that you can use on the desktop. Some of my favourites are listed below.

VMWare Workstation, this is a paid product but worth its weight in gold: http://store.vmware.com/store/vmwde/en_IE/pd/productID.166452200/Currency.GBP/?src=PaidSearch_Google_PersonalDesktop_WKSN_EMEA_UK_EN_Brand
VMWare Server, this is free for use and technically should only be used on a Server Operating System, but it does work on Desktop OS for testing purposes: http://www.vmware.com/products/server/overview.html
Virtual Box: http://www.sun.com/software/products/virtualbox/get.jsp

Whichever technology you use, virtualisation will allow you to install the new software in a test environment, and keep installing it until you are happy with the process. Run through it 2, 3 even 4 times. Make sure you are familiar with the screens and what answers you are going to provide to the wizards. Take notes, even write a step-by-step of what you encountered and when you encountered it. Remember, the more you do now when you are in a safe “sandbox” environment, the easier and less pressurised the real thing will be. Don’t pay too much attention to the actual data you are entering as some of this will change when you do a migration as opposed to a new installation.

For the actual Migration Pick a migration guide for your technologies, it’s always best to use one that’s recommended by others and they have had good success with.  You will find my migration guides here: https://demazter.wordpress.com/category/migration-guides/ I use my guides in my own migrations and update them with any changes as often as possible.  Read the guide thoroughly before you start the migration.   It’s easier to get answers when you are not under pressure to fix things.

If you have the time and the inclination I would also suggest that you convert your physical source server to a virtual one. This will allow you to do a test migration with your actual source server. There are many tools for performing the capture and they depend on the virtualisation technology you are using and whether you want a free or paid product. Some examples of methods that can be used to convert physical machines to virtual ones can be found here: http://4sysops.com/archives/p2v-for-vmware-six-ways-to-convert-physical-to-virtual/

Doing a virtual migration with a virtual copy of your actual source server is a great way to identify any problems you may encounter during the real live migration. You then have the opportunity to rectify these issues and then try the migration again. Once you are happy the migration has worked you are then in a position to do the live backup. I would be doing 3 to 4 virtual migrations just to be absolutely sure.

Watch out for tip Migration Tip #3 – Preparing for Live Migration in the next day or two.

If you are planning on a migration and are not comfortable with the process then Demazter IT Services can assist you. Please contact me on glen@demazter.co.uk.

All versions of Microsoft Exchange and Small Business Server require the use of an SSL Certificate. Whilst they will quite happily use a self-signed certificate a commercial certificate can save a lot of time and hassle, purchase Exchange/SBS SSL Certificates at an excellent price from: http://www.exchangecertificates.com/

Welcome to my series of short tips on migrations. Whilst based on Microsoft migrations the same principles can be applied to any type of migration.

My first tip is around source server preparation.

No migration is an easy migration, there is always potential for something to go wrong. All we can do is try to minimize this risk.

The biggest risk comes from the system we already have in place, the integrity of this system is paramount in ensuring a successful migration.

Making sure your source system is healthy and configured correctly will go a long way to ensuring you have a smooth migration.

Use analyzers and health check tools that are available from the vendor. Microsoft, for example, have a number of best practice analyzer tools. These can be used to identify any problems the system may have and provide advice on how to resolve them. Some of the ones I use regularly are listed below:

Small Business Server 2003 BPA: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=3874527a-de19-49bb-800f-352f3b6f2922&displaylang=en
Small Business Server 2008 BPA: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?familyid=86a1aa32-9814-484e-bd43-3e42aec7f731&displaylang=en
Exchange Server BPA (not for Exchange 2007 or 2010, the built in BPA should be used): http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?familyid=dbab201f-4bee-4943-ac22-e2ddbd258df3&displaylang=en
Internet Security and Acceleration Server BPA: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=d22ec2b9-4cd3-4bb6-91ec-0829e5f84063
SQL Server 2005 BPA: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?familyid=da0531e4-e94c-4991-82fa-f0e3fbd05e63&displaylang=en

In a Microsoft migration I will use tools like DCDIAG, NETDIAG, REPLMON and REPADMIN to check for errors, even if it’s a single server. You would be surprised how easy it is to misconfigure a single server. Further details on the usage of these tools can be found here:

DCDIAG: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc773199(WS.10).aspx
NETDIAG: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc782085(WS.10).aspx
REPLMON: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc772954(WS.10).aspx
REPADMIN: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc755360(WS.10).aspx

Make sure the source system is up-to-date. All updates, service packs etc need to be applied. This may seem like a waste of time on a system that you are soon to be migrating out of your network but really it isn’t. New products from the same vendor normally rely on the source system being up-to-date. I have been known to spend hours installing service packs and updates on a source server.

It’s worth spending the time getting this part of the migration perfect. There are no timescales in play here you can take your time, once you start migrating there are pressures at play that will make the slightest hiccup seem like your whole world is imploding. I would consider this part of the migration process the most important, and therefore if you are not comfortable with this process, hire someone who is. Buying in consulting services to make sure the server is health can save you a lot of money.

Watch out for tip Migration Tip #2 – The Practice Run in the next day or two.

If you are planning on a migration and are not comfortable with the process then Demazter IT Services can assist you. Please contact me on glen@demazter.co.uk.

All versions of Microsoft Exchange and Small Business Server require the use of an SSL Certificate. Whilst they will quite happily use a self signed certificate a commercial certificate can save a lot of time and hassle, purchase Exchange/SBS SSL Certificates at an excellent price from: http://www.exchangecertificates.com/