Clara Online Easily Migrates Physical Servers to Virtualized Private Cloud Environment

  • Migration

Overview

As a web hosting company, Clara Online realized that it was time to upgrade their traditional services, which included providing physical servers to customers. As more and more of their customers were looking to the cloud, the engineering team at Clara Online decided to make the switch. But migrating to the cloud would prove to be a difficult task. They needed to find a solution that would work for all of their customers and would not result in significant downtime. Many of their customers were wary of the public cloud, so they looked to a VMware-based private cloud with HCI (Nutanix).

Clara Online then tested a number of migration tools, but found the only one that would successfully support all of their customers’ requirements was CloudEndure Migration. Once CloudEndure Migration was deployed, they were able to meet their customers’ requirements for extremely minimal downtime and they didn’t need highly skilled engineers to do it.

Company

Clara Online is a Japanese web hosting company with a 20-year track record of offering a variety of services, including cloud hosting, VPS and dedicated servers, management services, and the integration of cloud services like AWS, Azure, and the private cloud using HCI (Nutanix). They have a world-class infrastructure in Japan that provides wholesale servers at competitive rates to server hosting companies and resellers outside Japan, as well as helping to drive expansion in the Japanese market. In addition, their numerous data centers in emerging markets such as China, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan support business expansion throughout Asia.

The Challenge

Clara Online wanted to cut costs by breaking away from the business of providing physical servers to customers. They had several thousands of servers and a host of network devices. When they began the project, they set a goal to migrate at least 50% of their physical IT environment to an HCI (Nutanix) private cloud. They knew that switching to services using hyperconverged infrastructure would allow them to provide additional value to customers, such as redundancy.

Clara Online needed to find a migration solution that would work for all of their customers from a wide range of industries, including financial, medical, and entertainment. And each customer came with a unique set of requirements. But above all, none could withstand any significant downtime during the migration process. As Jongmin Hong, General Manager of Engineering for Clara Online explains, “We had a few requirements that were very important in selecting a solution, including minimum downtime for the physical to virtual migration, a solution that would be easy for us to operate, the ability to have hot migration with perfect synchronization of data, and something that could support the various operating systems used by our customers.”

The search began for a solution that would meet their needs. Motofumi Uno, Chief Engineer at Clara Online explained that “We considered various solutions that could handle converting physical machines to virtual machines but they couldn’t meet all of our requirements. After a further search for solutions, we finally found CloudEndure.”

The Solution

In order to confirm that CloudEndure Migration would fit the bill, Clara Online conducted a week-long proof of concept. “We tested p2v to VMware. Network configuration was not an easy task because our topologies were not simple, but we succeeded with the migration in 30 minutes. CloudEndure Migration was literally the only solution we found that met all of our requirements and actually worked,” continued Uno. “In the end we bought 200 licenses of CloudEndure Migration. Now that we know what CloudEndure can do, we are planning to work with them to implement Disaster Recovery in the future.”

The ease of use of CloudEndure was also an important factor for Clara Online, which found the solution even more cost effective since it didn’t require professional engineers to manage the process. Since the process is repeatable, it was easy to replicate once initially set up.

Results

Once Clara Online decided to move forward with CloudEndure, they started the migration of 160 machines with a target of VMware on Nutanix Enterprise Cloud. The source machines’ Operating Systems (OS) were various versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS. They replicated Linux middleware, such as Apache, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.

“We found that no matter what the OS version and type, CloudEndure Migration can be implemented using the same procedures, from agent installation to cutover, and it works reliably,” said Hong. The ability to cut over multiple virtual machines at the same time was also very helpful for migrating large workloads.

As the initial wave of servers and related network devices became virtualized, data center maintenance costs and operation costs were immediately reduced. Clara Online was able to eliminate 30 racks within a few months. “We are not done yet,” promised Hong. “We still have many racks so we will continue to implement our successful p2v strategy with CloudEndure. After that we can begin to focus on disaster recovery.”

Recommendation

“There are many companies that have the same problems with IT infrastructure as we did, and we’ve seen a couple of cases where they have really struggled with p2v migration. CloudEndure will make this process much easier for them, so we highly recommend CloudEndure Migration,” said Uno.  Hong added that “The ability to set short migration cutover downtimes means companies can use their usual maintenance flow for migrations, eliminating the need to notify customers of the change or adjust job schedules and processes.”

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