Successful Migration: From Server to Cloud with just an Hour’s Downtime


The Business Challenge

ivolve Care and Support had a mountain of data, 750GB to be precise, on a SAGE server that they wanted to move from an old-fashioned data centre to the sophisticated Azure Cloud. But they needed to do this without causing, well, pretty much no disruption to their busy team of 20 payroll and accounting professionals.

The first roadblock that our team at IT Naturally encountered was a tricky one. They couldn’t directly access the server because the previous MSP had it tucked away on a shared VMware platform with other customers.  

The Solution 

A bit of good old-fashioned detective work!  

The team had to piece together the server’s details through phone calls and emails, a process that proved to be a bit time-consuming. 

Now, there were two ways to go about this: 

  • Export the data to another server, take a good look at it, and then move it to the cloud. (This approach, however, would mean the team would be offline for one or even two days.) 
  • Use an Azure Migrate appliance to cut down on downtime. 

ivolve’s top priority was to keep downtime at a bare minimum, so IT Naturally opted for the Azure Migrate Appliance. This handy tool was installed on the shared VMware server and it allowed exclusive access to the SAGE server. Our Senior Platform Engineer, Lee Gray, then had the ability to orchestrate the migration tasks right from the Azure Portal. 

The next step was to transfer the 750GB of SAGE server data into Azure, a process that took about 30 hours. The data was moved ahead of the migration to keep downtime as low as possible, with the system continuously updating to keep in step with production. 

To ensure everything was running smoothly, a test migration was conducted, creating a duplicate of the production SAGE system in Azure. This allowed the accounting and payroll teams to conduct their checks without any disruption to their work. 

One more hurdle that needed to be overcome was the lack of two-factor authentication (2FA) on the legacy server. This feature was added to the migrated solution for improved security. 

The result 

A successful migration with just an hour’s downtime! 

ivolve was in the driver’s seat throughout this process, choosing when the migration would take place. IT Naturally is all about collaborating with the client, so when ivolve needed to reschedule due to work commitments, the migration was postponed until the time was right for them. 

After the final go-ahead, one last data update was performed. The production migration was then completed and handed back to the users, with them being offline for less than an hour.  

A truly successful migration!