Like many providers, this Canadian provider faced the challenge of replacing NSX-v with NSX-T. Although VMware had announced the end of support early, the migration continues to pose challenges for many providers. As the migration is a one-time event, many providers turn to comdivision for support.
Yves Sandfort, comdivision's Lead Architect for this customer, is well-acquainted with the challenges: "NSX-T is essentially an entirely different product, so it requires more than just a simple upgrade. It necessitates a new architecture for the Software-Defined Network and parallel migration planning. Despite special tools from VMware, there is a lot to consider when planning a correct migration. Here, our team's experience from over four years of migration projects with more than 100 providers is invaluable. It's important to understand that service providers must be migrated differently from "normal" environments, requiring a distinct approach and problem-solving strategy."
The provider's virtual machines and those of its customers currently run on the existing NSX-v-based infrastructure. All network services function flawlessly. The internal team is experienced in supporting customers in implementing new solutions. Furthermore, no new clusters are being implemented, as sufficient hardware resources are currently available.
"Not many IT service providers specialize in supporting cloud or service providers. It's not only technical infrastructure knowledge that is often lacking, but also understanding of the providers' operational challenges. Particularly in this project, a deep network knowledge is required, as service providers often use a different architecture than "classical" enterprises. With the comdivision group, we found exactly such a partner. Even in the initial discussion, it was clear they knew what they were talking about! When we then found out that comdivision could also precisely transfer knowledge via their own trainers, the decision was clear!", says the provider's CTO.
This provider had sufficient hardware resources to build dedicated clusters for the new NSX-T environment based on vSphere 7.
Parallel to the architecture and construction of the new infrastructure, a joint analysis of existing customer environments was started with the help of the NSX-T Migration Assessment by the comdivision architects in collaboration with the provider. Here, comdivision uses its own matrix for classifying the results to better estimate the actual migration effort. The provider also receives information about possible downtime scenarios for its customers.
"When comdivision first introduced us to the concept of migrating customers from the old to the new infrastructure when changing the network substructure, we were initially skeptical. After the first test projects and beta customers, we were convinced," says the Infrastructure Manager at the service provider. This allows various parts of the infrastructure to be changed in one step. This involves the SDN and virtualization stack, as the servers are reinstalled with ESXi version 7. VMware Cloud Director is capable of using multiple physical deployment targets, simplifying the process of workload migration.
"Having a consulting partner like comdivision, who could introduce operational and administrative teams to the new technologies during the design, implementation and initial migration phase, was a huge advantage," says the Lead Cloud Architect. "It significantly reduced downtime and ensured ongoing customer support".
comdivision worked as a team with the cloud provider and was able to meet the company's needs regarding the development of the new system architecture as well as the creation of migration scenarios, training expectations, and the design of a new infrastructure. “The support from comdivision has enabled us to carry out the migration with minimal downtime while modernizing our infrastructure at the same time“ explained the CTO of the customer.