Under a tight deadline, Intertek-PSI needed to “lift and shift” its IBM Power-based ERP and other critical business applications from an existing service provider into the cloud with minimal downtime and without impacting users or increasing costs.
The company successfully migrated four LPARs, more than forty x86 VMs and 29 terabytes of data into Skytap on Azure in three months without impacting users or rewriting applications. The new environment provides increased performance, reliability, and disaster recovery capabilities for the same or lower cost.
Intertek-PSI is a nationally recognized consulting engineering and testing firm providing services to geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, facilities engineering, and environmental consulting with 2,300 skilled personnel across the U.S. Since 2015, Intertek-PSI has been a division of Intertek.
Intertek-PSI’s core business relies on Infor Lawson enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and line-of-business applications based on IBM Power Systems running AIX with interfaces to several x86 front-end systems. These essential applications had been hosted and managed by a well-known global IT services provider for roughly a decade. However, faced with expensive IBM Power Systems upgrades, the provider told Intertek-PSI it was ending its Power support, forcing the company to find a new solution within six months.
“Initially, we looked at what it would take to replatform off of Power,” said Aaron Wetherhold, IT Director, Building & Construction Division, Intertek-PSI. “It would be very complex, very costly, and we would lose some of the scalability and enterprise features that are built into the Power environment.”
With the ERP system being so critical to the company’s business, making any changes to it would introduce unacceptable levels of risk and downtime. During subsequent discussions, the existing provider suggested Wetherhold look at Skytap as a way to move existing Power workloads into Microsoft Azure without rewriting.
Solution and Outcome
The entire “lift and shift” project, from initial planning meetings to final migration, took three months, moving four LPARs, more than forty x86 VMs and 29 terabytes of data into Skytap on Azure. As issues arose, Skytap and Meridian quickly addressed them to ensure the project stayed on track. According to Wetherhold, “Meridian has a very sophisticated, mature team that was able to solve problems as they came up.”
As a measure of success, Wetherhold explained that after running the system normally for the first month after migration without any issues, the real test was doing month-end processing, which proceeded flawlessly.
Key benefits of the migration are upgraded hardware and performance improvements without an increase in cost. Brian Bewley, Senior Account Executive with Meridian, noted that Intertek-PSI is now on the latest Power 9 hardware in Azure rather than the Power 7 systems at their previous provider. Having everything in Azure coupled with fine tuning network configurations is expected to improve application performance.
With applications residing in Skytap on Azure and Meridian providing database management services, the move to Azure was cost neutral and Wetherhold anticipates savings in the long term.
In looking back, Wetherhold recalled, “Every time the topic of moving was brought up, the idea was just so daunting. We thought we’d have to re-platform everything, and so the ability to take our environment and move it up into the cloud was very successful. The move was so smooth.”
“The move was so smooth.”
Aaron Wetherhold, IT Director, Building & Construction Division, Intertek-PSI
In the next phase of the project, the company plans to implement a robust disaster recovery (DR) solution using Skytap and Commvault, which will significantly enhance application and data resilience and reduce risk.
Wetherhold summarized, “We had to do something. The only reason we did it is because we had to do something. Looking back, I wish we had done this years earlier. It’s faster, it’s better, and it’s probably even better than cost neutral.”
“Why would you want to have an aging Power System in your data center when you can relatively smoothly migrate it up into the cloud, along with all your other virtual machines?”
Meridian Group International is a leading global information technology services and equipment leasing company that focuses on delivering significantly improved results for its clients by unlocking the promise of technology. Meridian combines deep global business process and technical expertise with the world’s leading technologies to deliver creative solutions that fuel better business results. From ideation and requirements definition, to planning, implementation, management, and financing, Meridian helps its clients solve complex business, technology, and finance challenges.