We have a “repeat” VMware customer in Virginia that purchased VMware, servers, networking, and storage roughly three years ago. As is customary with most engagements, we performed our traditional VMware Enterprise Jumpstart to get the customer off and rolling. SIS continued to support them by providing the latest VMware updates. Time has flown by, as it does, and this year the customer was ready for a complete refresh. However, they wanted to repurpose their original equipment for use in their DR location once we completed the data migration to the new infrastructure.
Here is the big take-away: we migrated all 65 virtual machines, including 6 TB of usable data, from their existing ESX servers to new ESX servers. In addition, we moved all the data from their DS3400 to a new DS3500 SAN. The process took place during the middle of the day with no downtime, and their customers–employees included–had no idea the upgrade/migration was even happening. Not one complaint of performance issues during the migration. In fact, one VM server was a bank imaging server used by the bank tellers that had around 3 TB of check images. Pretty amazing: a complete fork-lift upgrade of all hardware, including ESX servers, networking, and storage, with no downtime.
What made this possible? A product called VMware vMotion with EVC, and more importantly VMware Storage vMotion. Everyone talks about vMotion, but actually Storage vMotion is where the real power resides. It gives administrators the ability to move virtual machine data from one storage repository to another with no downtime. Our storage brand manager could likely go on for hours on how tough a SAN upgrade is without Storage vMotion. It is impressive technology that makes data migration projects extremely efficient with little to no impact on daily operations. Spread the word.