Joe Terrell – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Tue, 07 Aug 2018 19:04:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Avoiding Pitfalls in your SQL Server Migration https://infocus.dellemc.com/joe_terrell/avoiding-pitfalls-sql-server-migration/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/joe_terrell/avoiding-pitfalls-sql-server-migration/#comments Tue, 02 Aug 2016 12:00:42 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=28513 Recently, most of my blog entries have been about SQL Server migrations. With extended support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 having ended in April, it’s a timely discussion. In this blog, I’d like to share with you how we’ve applied the “lessons learned” during engagements over the last several years to a set of key […]

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Recently, most of my blog entries have been about SQL Server migrations. With extended support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 having ended in April, it’s a timely discussion. In this blog, I’d like to share with you how we’ve applied the “lessons learned” during engagements over the last several years to a set of key migration best practices.

It all starts with understanding where you are. Discovery is the key to success. You need identify your full inventory of all servers running SQL Server. This would include deployment architectures, version levels, associated availability requirements, as well as specific performance-level characteristics.

Next you’ll have to identify the interdependencies. Those include more than just databases. There are a lot of additional dependencies such as SQL security users/logins, agent jobs, linked servers, and other configurations that have to be accounted for. You’ll have to take legacy and third-party applications into consideration as well, and understand how your new environment will support those services.

Know your costs—you need to look at licensing, business, and support impact on your cost structure and do what’s necessary to optimize your post-migration cost structure.

Minimize Impact to Business. Accounting for application outage windows and migration time frames will also be of critical importance to ensuring a smooth transition. The level of criticality defined here—based on business need—should align with the availability/recovery solutions planned in the future-state architecture.

Consider the entire data platform supporting data integration, data warehousing, analytics, and reporting. And don’t underestimate the time and effort to migrate and test related BI solutions. Plan for testing and leave enough time to prepare prior to moving to a full production environment.

The process of planning and executing a SQL Server migration is often complex. But the right approach and best practices can help you avoid the pitfalls of migration. To read about our recommended best practices in greater detail, take a look at our EMC Perspective: Five Best Practices for Ensuring a Successful SQL Server Migration.

In my next blog, I’ll be talking about application transformation.

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An Insider’s View of SQL Server Migrations https://infocus.dellemc.com/joe_terrell/insiders-view-sql-server-migrations/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/joe_terrell/insiders-view-sql-server-migrations/#respond Thu, 26 May 2016 09:00:24 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=27567 In my last blog, I talked about the top 5 reasons to migrate from Microsoft SQL Server 2005. And I promised, as a follow up, to give you an insider’s look at how EMC approaches Microsoft SQL Server migrations, starting with the first phase of a two-phased approach. First, let’s recap the primary objectives that […]

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In my last blog, I talked about the top 5 reasons to migrate from Microsoft SQL Server 2005. And I promised, as a follow up, to give you an insider’s look at how EMC approaches Microsoft SQL Server migrations, starting with the first phase of a two-phased approach.

First, let’s recap the primary objectives that are likely driving your Microsoft SQL Server upgrade or migration:

  • taking advantage of the increased performance, scalability, and new features of more recent releases
  • reducing costs, both hardware and software, by consolidating and optimizing the data infrastructure
  • populating and migrating existing database workloads to a new modern database as a service (DBaaS) model, as part of your IT transformation journey

These goals are all worthwhile, but without a concrete migration plan, many businesses delay time to value. To achieve modern infrastructure and service models, businesses will need to invest significant time and resources to their migration initiative. This is where EMC’s expert teams shine. We save our clients the headache of handling the migration and help you accelerate your ROI by streamlining migration process.

Adding value through risk reduction. No one likes risk. That’s why we employ automated tools to gather and analyze data related to existing database servers and data instances. Then we create an inventory of the apps by reviewing existing records and through interviews with the application owners. These applications are dependent on the infrastructure that we’re about to change. It’s important to rate the applications according to their criticality to the business. The inventory includes app-to-database mapping. Through this portion of discovery, we identify risks and create a plan for mitigating them.

Realistic planning makes the future real. We understand that database infrastructure upgrades are challenging. And we also know that avoiding disruption means you not only have to grasp the details of the IT infrastructure, but you’ll also have to take into account your organization’s business objectives. While we focus on enabling you to achieve your goal of aligning IT to the business outcomes, we understand what needs to take place in order for the migration to not impact your day-to-day operations.

Phase 2: From vision to execution

What does the future look like? Using the information from the assessment and comparing them to the future-state requirements, we design the new architecture and develop the migration plan for the SQL infrastructure, SSIS, SSRS, and SSAS components.

Getting down to details. A comprehensive test plan and database infrastructure implementation plan is the next critical stage. About 7 weeks into the project, we’re ready to take the final steps to prepare for the migration. It’s at this point that we create a detailed plan for moving applications and servers, tools selection, and supporting processes.

Deploying a new, modernized SQL infrastructure means taking into account the validation of processes, tools, and procedures and then building out the new infrastructure based on the detailed plan. Our program management office works with business stakeholders to identify and remediate any timeline impacts. Communication is the key to success in this phase.

Arriving at the destination. Our clients then want us to provide that critical execution oversight throughout the migration process. Execution and management of the program is handled by experienced program managers. Depending on the size of the organization and the complexity of the environment, this could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months—but the results will be apparent very quickly.

In my next blog, I’ll be talking about lessons learned and best practices that can help you avoid the pitfalls that many organizations encounter in their SQL Server migrations.

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Top 5 Reasons to Migrate off SQL Server 2005 Now https://infocus.dellemc.com/joe_terrell/top-5-reasons-migrate-off-sql-server-2005-now/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/joe_terrell/top-5-reasons-migrate-off-sql-server-2005-now/#respond Tue, 12 Apr 2016 12:00:09 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=26771 Microsoft SQL Server® 2005 has reached its end of life (EOL). After 11 years, it finally exited “extended support” on April 12, 2016. Now there are a number of options for where you can go next: SQL Server 2008, 2012, 2014, or 2016 (announced March 10, 2016). Most of you will opt for the 2014 […]

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Microsoft SQL Server® 2005 has reached its end of life (EOL). After 11 years, it finally exited “extended support” on April 12, 2016. Now there are a number of options for where you can go next: SQL Server 2008, 2012, 2014, or 2016 (announced March 10, 2016). Most of you will opt for the 2014 or 2016 editions. But it’s definitely time to do something.

If you’re willing to wait for new features and pay a premium for a Custom Support Agreement (CSA) from Microsoft, you can buy yourself some time – but it’s hardly worth it, since you’ll still to need a plan to migrate or replatform because custom support agreements through Microsoft Premier Support aren’t available forever.

Top 5 reasons to act now:

  1. EOL: The price of doing nothing after EOL is too steep, and the consequences can be severe. The lack of support and security updates have implications that can ripple through out your environment affecting services and applications that the business depends on.
  2. Performance Increase: Don’t miss out on the benefits of migrating immediately. The current versions of SQL closely support a modern environment with performance gains, added high availability and scalability features, as well as increased business intelligence capabilities.
  3. Adopt DBaaS model: When it comes to database transformation and migration services you have options to deploy infrastructure, automate applications, and transition your workloads—whether for a new platform like the Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution, or if you’re looking to adopt a DBaaS model. Migration of your existing SQL platforms gives you the opportunity to consider improving your service offering model.
  4. Reduce Risk: Ease the pain and reduce the risk of dealing with SQL Server 2005 end of life and the migration to a new platform by partnering with experts. The process of planning and executing a migration from SQL Server 2005 is complex and time-consuming. This is one of the cases where you can benefit from experienced professionals to help you minimize risk and complete the migration more quickly. Coordinating an effort large as this can be daunting, yet maintaining the stability of the business during the migration and mitigating risk is crucial.
  5. Modernize your infrastructure: Use the SQL Server 2005 EOL challenge as the driver you need to modernize your infrastructure. You can explore a move to a converged infrastructure or modernize with a solution like our Enterprise Hybrid Cloud to add to the substantial performance improvement offered in newer versions of SQL Server. Our Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution can extend the value of your investment by deployment of engineered SQL blueprints from EMC.

No matter the driver, EMC can help. Our Migration for Microsoft SQL Server offering can help you meet the challenges of a migration initiative, from planning through execution. Our approach comes from our years of experience in this space. It’s an exciting time when you consider all of the options you have to modernize your data center. EMC Services can provide the right guidance to help your business achieve its goals.

If any of the reasons mentioned above resonate with you, act now! And stay tuned for our next blog, which will give you an insider’s view of an EMC Migration for Microsoft SQL Server engagement.

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Capture the Windows Server 2003 Migration Advantage https://infocus.dellemc.com/joe_terrell/capture-the-windows-server-2003-migration-advantage/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/joe_terrell/capture-the-windows-server-2003-migration-advantage/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:00:37 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=23027 If there’s something that I’ve learned in my career about the IT industry, it’s that change is constant and necessary. After all, you do not move through a journey by remaining absolutely still. If you think about it, all businesses are using technology to help them achieve their vision. Whether that vision is to successfully […]

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If there’s something that I’ve learned in my career about the IT industry, it’s that change is constant and necessary. After all, you do not move through a journey by remaining absolutely still. If you think about it, all businesses are using technology to help them achieve their vision. Whether that vision is to successfully sell pizzas or to provide medical services, organizations not only use technology as a vehicle for delivering services, but also as a method for differentiating themselves among their competitors.

How do these businesses see and know the road to take? How do companies take existing applications run on platforms that are coming close to end of life and replatform to supportable standards? Forget just moving like infrastructure to like infrastructure—that’s challenging enough. In order to stay ahead, most businesses are taking advantage of the opportunity to modernize their applications as they move these services to a new platform. That is what allows them to lay the foundation for the future.

In my last blog entry, I talked about easing some of the headaches associated with replatforming Windows Server 2003 environments and shared the advantages of addressing the EOL challenge with the goal of modernizing your technology portfolio in mind. At EMC, we tell the story of the journey towards modernization, with the Windows Server 2003 EOL as the catalyst. Every journey starts with a single step, so let’s take a walk through what that path looks like.

Start by assessing where you areDont Just Migrate Windows Server 2003 Infographic

If I’m a CIO, I’m thinking “OK, I have my IT guys running my company’s applications, which were built with Platform 2 services in mind, on infrastructure platforms that are no longer going to be supported by the vendor. How can we best tackle this EOL issue, and at the same time, set us up with a solid foundation to build from for future endeavors? How do we come up with a strategy for achieving that vision, with all of this risk in our environment?”

The questions above are all valid and are part of some very large discussions. To even begin answering the EOL-related questions, you need to understand the magnitude of what you need to replatform. You can do that by showing what exists where, and how it all fits together from an application and infrastructure perspective. Most businesses are moving towards cloud services—private, public, and hybrid—to give them the agility required to handle both innovation and disruption. And for that, you may well need expert help.

Create a strategy and the design to get you there

The next step you need to focus on is defining the strategy. You don’t need a computer team sitting in a back room somewhere reviewing reports and picking off servers to move after hours during a week. At EMC, we understand that you need a team of business analysts and architects, interviewing and working with your stakeholders to develop a blueprint of how we can help you achieve your vision. We need your input to know exactly how each application fits into the business and what role that application plays. You know your business better than anyone, which is why we base the strategy on your input.

Next, think of refreshing those Platform 2 apps here, if that makes the most sense for your business. We design the migration approach—using tools to automate what we can—after we have set the strategy with the future state in mind. And, we test it before executing.

Execute on your vision

At last, we’re at execution: the final step on our replatforming journey. After having performed all of our due diligence up front, from strategy and future-state design to creating the migration plan and testing it, we’re ready to bring the vision to life. By far, seeing this transformation of technology take place is the most exciting part of my job. I truly enjoy seeing growth in organizations, from both a technology and a people perspective. Ultimately, there are many small, but significant journeys which must be taken to achieve your vision of modernization. As we’ve discussed here, and as you see in our infographic, EMC Global Services professionals are here to help you along your path to replatforming and modernizing.

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Easing Windows Server 2003 Migration Headaches https://infocus.dellemc.com/joe_terrell/easing-windows-server-2003-migration-headaches/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/joe_terrell/easing-windows-server-2003-migration-headaches/#respond Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:00:09 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=22699 Here we go again—another blog about Windows Server 2003. The twelve-year-old server operating system has probably had more air time in the past year than it has across its entire lifespan. It’s fair to say that all businesses should now be aware that end of life for Windows Server 2003 is rapidly approaching. If you still […]

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Here we go again—another blog about Windows Server 2003. The twelve-year-old server operating system has probably had more air time in the past year than it has across its entire lifespan. It’s fair to say that all businesses should now be aware that end of life for Windows Server 2003 is rapidly approaching.

If you still want to run that operating system with support after July 14, 2015, you’re going to need to shell out serious money to acquire a Custom Support Agreement (CSA) from Microsoft. But wait—before Microsoft will sell you a CSA, you must have identified a plan to move your workloads, services, and applications off your Windows Server 2003 platforms. Right away, IT and business leaders are asking:

question mark

  1. Do we really know how many Windows Server 2003 instances we’re running and who owns them?
  2. Is each one of those instances hosting various applications, each with varying levels of criticality to our business?
  3. Will our team be able to dedicate time to identifying these nuances, let alone formulate a plan and move off them while mitigating further CSA cost?

How are we going to address this challenge? That light at the end of the tunnel that you see doesn’t have to be a freight train. You can choose a team of professionals to handle the heavy lifting for you. My colleague, Sam Cavaliere, wrote a great blog that describes our methodology in the assessment phase of EMC’s Microsoft Windows Server 2003 offering.

In my experience as a consultant, most businesses are caught off guard by what is found during the discovery phase in a replatforming project—often very different from what they have documented and inventoried. This not only includes itemizing a count of servers and applications, but also to what extent they integrate and communicate with other supporting applications. Missing a dependency can be catastrophic during a technical project, whether it’s a migration or a replatforming initiative.

Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.

Beyond the tactical act of acquiring the technical data and checking it twice, most companies want greater value from a consultant—someone who understands their business. Coordinating an effort as distributed and large as this can be, understanding the impact to each business unit is crucial to maintaining the stability of the business and mitigating risk. This is why we validate our discovered data with stakeholders from each business group.

What’s next?

Now is the time to take stock of all your options. The Windows Server 2003 EOL challenge can be the driver you need to modernize your infrastructure, particularly with EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud. Think how much easier it would be if, instead of having to build out new servers each time you needed to move a workload, you simply requested via a service portal, thereby shrinking the process from weeks to minutes! Not to mention, starting off fresh with a newly built infrastructure and accurate configuration management database (CMDB). Sign me up!

Being an optimist at heart,I see this scenario as the opportunity to improve. From the discovery stage of our Server 2003 Services offering, to the execution, and to future-state infrastructure, it all leads towards modernizing your environment, enabling performance in business units, and cutting costs by removing legacy systems.

I could go on, but instead I recommend that you read a blog where my colleague, Matt Liebowitz, articulates exactly how businesses can use this opportunity to make a profound impact and increase their agility as they solve the Windows Server 2003 end-of-life problem.

 

 

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