IT Migration Case Study
Karl Environmental engineering company, Mohnton, PA
PROBLEMS & NEEDS
An environmental engineering company approached PC Ninja to help with their network infrastructure and business process needs. They had four issues:
They had data stored on the network server that was critical to their business processes. Having their data backed up on-site, they were concerned with the irregularity of backups, integrity of it and the potential of hardware failure or other catastrophic disasters.
They had random communication problems/delays with their onsite Microsoft Exchange email server.
They did not have a proper recovery system/plan to make sure that there wasn’t significant downtime if their server went down.
The company wanted to move to another web hosting provider. It needed help to set up WordPress in the new web hosting provider, migrate the database files and make sure all website plugins and ecommerce functionality worked properly.
SOLUTIONS & STRATEGY
PC Ninja worked with the company and mapped its network out to get a better understanding of how it was structured, the equipment it used and how the business operated. A strategy was formulated with the objective of implementing a solution that had minimal downtime for the company’s day-to-day business operations.
PC Ninja suggested and implemented a hybrid on-site and cloud backup solution. The backup was done through a selected cloud company and was set up to do dual backups to a separate hard drive on site and directly to the cloud. Automated scheduled backups were set to run every day, to check for backup integrity (after each backup) and to do incremental backups (i.e., only files that were changed since the last backup were backed up). This helped save network bandwidth and disk space. File versioning was set up so that files and folders (accidentally deleted or corrupted) could be restored with minimal downtime.
Due to the age of the server and the number of employees in the company, PC Ninja recommended a migration to use Microsoft Exchange cloud emails with a selected cloud hosting company. As the company’s employees depended on email usage daily, PC Ninja planned for email migration on a weekend. All user emails were exported, and the onsite exchange server was disabled. The domain MX records were modified to point to the new cloud email server (anticipating a 72-hour period for domain propagation). Microsoft Exchange cloud server accounts were set up on each computer, and all backed-up data, including email files/folders, calendars and contacts, were imported back. When the company employees came back to work the following Monday morning, all email accounts were running smoothly without loss of email, calendar or contact files.
Due to the hybrid backup solution and implementation of the Microsoft Exchange cloud emails, there was a decrease in the dependence of the server. Therefore, if the server had to be rebuilt or repaired, the company would still have temporary access to its important files/folders (through the onsite backup or external cloud backup) and would still be able to use its email system. Automated recovery using the backup files (internally or through the external cloud) decreased the time required to recover the files if there were problems. With file versioning, files and folders could be restored quickly in instances of accidental deletion or corruption by malware.
After selection of the web hosting company, PC Ninja set up a test site on the new host. WordPress, database and all website files were migrated. Extra functionality and ecommerce features were reinstalled and tested. When the website was deemed visually/functionally identical and working without problems, PC Ninja initiated the switch (of the website) to the new provider. As the old website and new website were identical and working on both hosting providers, there was zero website downtime when the switch of domain records occurred.
With the solutions and strategy, PC Ninja was able
- decrease the environmental engineering company’s dependence on a single server,
- increase the reliability of its email system,
- stabilize its IT infrastructure and decrease the cost of server maintenance,
- avoid significant downtime and increase productivity of day-to-day business activities and the website and
- allow for quicker recovery of files and folders if a disaster happened.