How do you handle the risky task of switching a data center from France to the UK? This was the question that was posed to us by Kingfisher, the largest home improvement retailer in Europe, who wanted to centralise its data center operations to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency.
Operating over 1000 stores in eight different countries, Kingfisher’s systems hold volumes of mission-critical data. In addition to the 13 live production servers (consisting of AlphaServers and Proliant Wintel servers), the company also wanted to recommission systems holding non-live data to a disaster recovery facility in the UK to achieve a complete consolidation of operations.
We started with a full on-site audit of Kingfisher’s data center in Lille, France, to confirm configurations, OS versions, firmware levels, as well as establish data migration expectations with Oracle DBAs. A UNIX cluster, which performs the main ERP operations of all Kingfisher’s outlets, operates 7 days a week and processes 100,000s of transactions per day, was defined as a mission-critical system.
The audit outcome was a detailed report defining the role, configurations, connectivity, performance and requirements of each system and node, along with advisories to connect to a new IBM SAN. A full roadmap and replication plan of the French data center was produced and agreed upon, which detailed the main stages of migration.
1- Configuration and delivery of new AlphaServers. First, we built and ran tests on five new servers in our own UK facility, which were built based on the survey conducted. Once the new AlphaServers were proven to work and run their database applications, we delivered them to Kingfisher’s UK data center, re-commissioned them and got them to operating system level.
2- Data Migration. After the newly-built systems were in place for 2-3 weeks and passed Kingfisher’s performance testing, we launched the data migration from the France servers to the new UK servers. This was completed within a 12-hour window to minimize downtime, in essence switching all live data center operations to the UK.
3- Re-commissioning to disaster recovery facility. We then decommissioned all the non-live, systems that were now redundant in France and relocated them to a disaster recovery facility in Hampshire, to perform as a replica platform via Oracle RMAN..
Upon the sign over of the completed work, we took ownership over all the hardware support on production and development servers on a 24x7x4 hour response, with a 5-year support commitment. Additionally, we provide full remote monitoring of the mission critical ERP servers, maximising Kingfisher’s ROI.