APRIL 2018CIOAPPLICATIONSEUROPE.COM8DATA CENTRE MIGRATION: TRENDS AND ADOPTION OF TECHNOLOGIESALEX HOOPER, HEAD OF OPERATIONS, BMJn the last three years, we've taken on three major data centre migrations. Each time has been easier, faster, and less disruptive than the last. Each time, we've come out with our estate in a more consistent state with less technical debt. Each time, we have gained autonomy and confidence, as well as trust from our peers in development. During 2017, we built out substantial infrastructure for the development and re-launch of a major product which has moved from monolith to micro services. Here, we provisioned faster than ever before, and were able to destroy, recreate, and resize and generally tune infrastructure at the drop of a hat.The size of our estate has nearly tripled over this time but the size of the team has stayed constant.We (my team of four Ops Engineers) could never have achieved this if we had not been pursuing a strategy over this period of adopting emergent cloud technologies, particularly around the automation of provision, orchestration, and configuration, coupled with the use of hybrid cloud. Adoption of these technologies has, almost without exception, been an extremely positive process--easy to learn, well-documented, exciting to use, and bringing tangible, measurable benefit to the business. The downsides tend to be those that generally affect new technologies: the closer you get to the cutting edge, the less stable the tools are: we have had, on occasion, to re-work when a tool's upgrade breaks backwards compatibility. But this risk can generally be managed by common sense: pulling knowledge from the tech teams, from colleagues and peers and letting that guide strategy and adoption. And the discovery process in itself can feed a bonding between dev and ops teams which is critical on this path.This cultural change--the move towards the much-vaunted "DevOps" culture--is a welcome and necessary partner to adopting a highly automated cloud strategy, and reaps rewards in time-efficiencies, trust, and transparency. Let's focus in on an example. Last year, we ran a project to migrate all our development and test environments from an in-house data centre run by our parent, BMA, out to public cloud. The kind of thing which, only a handful of years ago would have been massively intrusive and disruptive to BAU but which, thanks to hybrid cloud, we were able to do with virtually no impact on the developers or rest of the business. With a VPN between our in-house DC and our externally-hosted private cloud, and then Direct Connect from there to our AWS environment, we were able to extend the logical network across the lot and then move individual components between DCs without breaking dependencies. Larger, more tentacled systems could remain in the original DC servicing the applications that we moved out to AWS. Skills were honed on the simpler pieces and those larger systems were tackled once confidence had built. There was constant room for celebration as applications were migrated--rather than the constant sense of dread that hangs over an "everything at once" move.This migration had a number of more concrete advantages, most significant among which were cost-savings and time-to-delivery improvements for infrastructure requests. As our developers are UK-based, these dev/test environments were only required during UK working hours. In pretty short order, Alex HooperIIN MYOPINION
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