Remaining at the bleeding edge of industry requires a lot of change. Change that ensures the company stays relevant and ahead of the game! One of the biggest changes I’ve experienced at BPD Zenith is our shift to Cloud – and it looks like industry is heading in the same direction…
My biggest headaches as Network Administrator were issues caused by a server infrastructure that was constantly pushed to its limits! With demand increasing, these limitations were starting to show.
The hosting of Maximo environments requires constant network changes, physical infrastructure, software changes and security patches to name a few. Eventually, the tired HP DL380s started to show their age. Now out of warranty, it was proving to be extremely difficult to cater to the demands of the Development and Support teams. Both were growing and I was no longer able to provide the capacity required to deliver the reliable service BPD is known for.
We were at a crossroads. We could throw more hardware at the problem, buy more servers, then manage and maintain that infrastructure for several years, repeating the process all over again. Or, we could change the way we hosted systems and move to a much more elastic platform that can scale to whatever capacity we required – only paying for what we used without the physical management of the hardware.
Cloud – The Host with The Most!
The move from a conventional On-Premise Enterprise Network to a Cloud Solution would be a massive change for the business. This would bring challenges but also some significant benefits for BPD’s Maximo offering!
After an initial testing phase and a proof of concept was performed, it was decided that a Cloud-based platform was suitable to host all of BPD UK’s operations. It would also support a ‘lift and shift’ method to transfer existing Maximo implementations – we would run the Support and Development operations in a Hybrid Cloud model, with new systems being deployed on the Cloud and existing systems slowly moving over when outages could be catered for.
Getting Used to the Change
We encountered some issues along the way as our understanding of the Cloud developed. For example, we found latency issues when an application or database server was in the Cloud and the other half on-premise, as the latency of the WAN link to the data centre resulted in significant performance issues. This made debugging java via eclipse very difficult, however we avoided this by ensuring that an entire environment was migrated simultaneously.
Once the move to the Cloud was complete, the advantages were clear. For so many reasons such as security, practicality and value for money! We discovered we could script system running times to turn them off when they weren’t needed. By only running from 08:00 to 18:00, we were significantly cutting costs.
After 3 years of using the Cloud hosted model, I have nothing but great things to say about it and still find myself discovering new tricks, meaning that savings can be passed on to our clients – offering them even more return on their Maximo investment and assets!