Our client, a global manufacturing conglomerate, engaged us to help facilitate technical needs relating to the corporate divestiture of one of its divisions. We handled migration needs of over 150 applications to Azure across accounts, devices, and infrastructure.
In so doing, we ensured the division’s 2,500 employees could maintain productivity throughout the transition and that, upon the final separation from the global conglomerate, the new standalone company would have a strong—and modernized—technological foundation. Therefore, this was not just a “lift and shift” migration of resources; it also involved bringing what had been on-premise solutions to the cloud.
Two major threads in this complex project were (1) migrating users, data, devices, and shared resources; and (2) modernizing the division’s IT delivery, including a transformation from traditional on-premise infrastructure to infrastructure-as-code.
Users, data and resources migration
Concurrency prepared the new, standalone environment through a series of interrelated steps, including: implementing a new Azure Active Directory environment and synchronizing it with the existing Active Directory domain; establishing new management tools, including System Center Configuration Manager; defining new group policies; establishing a new certificate authority—and more. The Concurrency team included technical experts as well as business analysts and a project manager, all working closely with our client’s internal IT team.
With regard to the migration of over 150 applications to Azure, we followed a process developed and refined throughout the course of managing many large-scale migrations. The process is designed to minimize user impact—to an extent that users may not even realize they have moved from one domain to another, apart from being prompted to log into services again. In particular:
- We first moved user email and OneDrive data storage from the existing Office 365 domain to the newly created one, making use of Power 365 and ShareGate tools. We also used ShareGate to assist with migrating SharePoint sites.
- Then, we migrated the desktop computers themselves. Users received a notification that Outlook needed to be reconfigured and to please leave the computer powered on overnight. Then, during the night hours, a series of specific steps unfolded in a particular order. These included temporarily suspending encryption; removing some agents; cutting over to join the new Azure AD; turning encryption back on; and running a variety of scripts to change the user experience. To aid this process, we used Binary Tree software. In the morning, users were prompted to newly log in to services and turn on multi-factor authentication—making for an almost invisible change from the user perspective.
- We then also migrated all shared resources, such as on-premises servers, printers, scanners, and other devices.
The project, which included a Windows, SQL rehost, SQL refactor and Linux migration, was completed on time, within budget, and resulted in 2,500 users and a wide range of corporate resources, all moved to a wholly new environment—well-prepared for the eventual breakaway from the parent company and all that implies, including separate licensing and systems management.
IT delivery transformation
Enterprise applications critical to the division—and soon standalone company—had been running in the parent company’s on-premise data centers. This was a perfect moment for modernization.
Concurrency’s DevOps team led this process, which involved not only moving those applications to the cloud but also transforming the entire approach to infrastructure. For example:
- We introduced our client to the concept of infrastructure-as-code and deployed that code with help from Terraform Enterprise. There’s a big learning curve here, as a new approach to infrastructure is foundational to IT departments, but doing so creates a truly modern foundation for the future.
- We deployed audit capabilities to increase the speed at which our client could deliver infrastructure components for new applications, while also establishing consistency at a level previously unattainable.
- We created logic-based delivery implementation patterns based on asset classification.
- We rearchitected applications and re-platformed them onto Azure platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions.
The end result of this modernization program, in conjunction with the newly created Office 365 environment, creates a solid foundation for the standalone company’s success going into the future. You can learn more about how this modernization improved the organization's security posture here.