5 Migration Milestones In The Channel Company's Cloud Conversion
Becoming A Cloud Company
On Sept. 17, the former staff of UBM Channel celebrated the founding of The Channel Company. With more than 150 employees and six office locations across the U.S., UBM Channel had been bought out by management from parent company UBM and was now an independent entity.
The Channel Company then embarked on an ambitious project to move off former parent company UBM's IT infrastructure and migrate virtually all of its systems to the cloud. After an intense discovery phase that reviewed more than 150 client systems and several shared servers and network infrastructure, the project -- led by solution provider GreenPages -- moved into the migration phase. Here are five milestones from The Channel Company's cloud conversion. For an in-depth look at this migration project, check out Monday's CRN tablet app exclusive.
The first migration piece of the project was a small but crucial step: email. GreenPages set up The Channel Company's employees with new email addresses and migrated all existing accounts to a hosted Exchange service via Microsoft's Office 365. GreenPages and The Channel Company's own IT staff moved migrated the email accounts of each of the company's six offices, one day at a time.
After the email migration was completed, The Channel Company was later moved to full Office 365 services, leaving behind the legacy Microsoft Office applications for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more. All existing documents and files from the legacy versions were converted to the new cloud service. In addition, employees were given upgraded Microsoft Lync accounts for instant messaging as well as SkyDrive accounts for file sharing.
Arguably the biggest piece of the puzzle for The Channel Company's cloud conversion was moving its data center infrastructure off-premise. GreenPages transferred all data in The Channel Company's servers (many of which were shared with other UBM divisions before The Channel Company became an independent entity) to new cloud servers hosted by Cirrity, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service provider and GreenPages partner based in Atlanta. The entire company was moved off the UBM network and on to the new The Channel Company cloud platform, which includes two virtualized Active Directory servers.
The migration team spent weeks moving dozens of The Channel Company Web domains from the UBM data center to new Rackspace servers, with the final hurdle being the company's flagship website: CRN.com. The CRN website got a design makeover and a new content management system, plus the CMS for the publication's iPad and Windows 8 apps had to be re-integrated and relaunched with the website CMS. The new CRN site went live in early February with virtually no downtime or interruptions.
A big question for The Channel Company's cloud migration was what to do about tech support. As a lot of the IT infrastructure was moved off-premise, The Channel Company outsourced IT support services to GreenPages as part of the overall managed services contract. The solution provider took the lead for all technical support and troubleshooting issues for IT services, infrastructure and client devices.