Application Migration for a Global Law Firm

Buildings at Canary Wharf London at dusk

One of the world’s most prestigious law firms was relocating its UK head office and the data center was also set to move. In line with best practice, it was decided to manage the data center migration at the application level in order to achieve a successful transfer while driving efficiency.

This was a major undertaking so a subject matter expert from JP Reis was called in to lead the process. The starting point was to assess the current estate which included the following:

  • 142 applications
  • 243 physical servers
  • 700 virtual servers
  • 7 storage arrays
  • 825TB of active storage with 1.2PB available

Discovery Stage

This stage of the work required a large amount of engagement with business owners, technical managers and application teams to gather the relevant data that was required to prepare the migration plan. Key aspects of this included the identification of application owners, business-critical applications and “affinity groups” of interdependent applications. Successful delivery was dependent on the cooperation of service and application users within the organization. This was facilitated by our consultant using established JP Reis techniques for effectively gathering information.

This stage also highlighted opportunities to rationalize space and capacity requirements through the removal of obsolete services, migration to Public Cloud and increased server density. JP Reis were not responsible for any physical aspect of the migration, but we did contribute recommendations for the in-house program manager.

Application Migration

With the soft inventory fully audited and the apps, their owners and their interdependencies documented, our Lead Consultant was able to start planning the migration strategy and then delivering the move in discrete stages. Servers were built or transferred for him as required and affinity groups of applications were moved together in order to maintain integrated operation. Corporate law is a 24/7 business so although each move was performed at the weekend to minimize disruption, with testing carried out before applications went live at the start of the working week, we also put contingencies in place to allow access for client teams who were working through the weekend.

Project Conclusion

A project of this scope takes time to deliver but the key is to maximize efficiency while avoiding disruption. The project was a complete success; efficiencies were achieved, our client’s operations suffered negligible disruption and our project sponsor, who realized external expertise would be valuable, soon found himself in a more senior position.