Founded in the late eighteen hundreds, this insurance association for transport and traffic merged with the smaller accident insurance fund for postal and telecommunication. The new organization is responsible for the large branches of the transport and traffic industry, waste disposal, aviation, inland and maritime shipping, fishing, financial services and telecommunications. The organization has 1400+ employees, taking care of about 200,000 members and 1,7M insured workers.

“After the merger in 2016, it was important to us that the postal services and the courier, express and parcel services are also merged under the umbrella and that their IT systems are subsequently harmonized. That will pay off in our joint prevention work” said the employee representative.

The scope of this transition was to merge about 1,000 virtualized desktops that ran on 300 virtual servers. The compute resources were provided by 80  ESXi  hosts.  

comdivision was asked to support the migration process of the VMware Horizon and vSphere systems.  

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The Challenge

comdivision’s lead architect on the case, Fabian Lenz, identified a few potential hurdles to overcome: “with all the different systems, a total of 10 different vendors and consulting companies were involved in the architecture and planning of migration scenarios” said Lenz and continued “we had to make sure that the we were planning our part as usual, but don’t take for granted, that everything is in place – in other words: we had to be aware of and take the surrounding infrastructure into account as well.”

The biggest challenge was to ensure that some few critical users with persistent VDI desktops and Horizon Linked Clones would be migrated without data loss.

The Solution

The migration included a initial replication of the block based storage to the new location and the transfer of the server profiles (Cisco UCS). Combined with the boot from SAN, the identity of the servers within the new locations remained identical.

When setting up a host to boot from a SAN, host's boot image is stored on one or more LUNs in the SAN storage system. When the host starts, it boots from the LUN on the SAN rather than from its local disk. “Booting from SAN can provide numerous benefits to your ESXi environment” explained Lenz “you can run cheaper servers without internal storage and – just what we needed for this migration – you can just replace the servers and point the old boot location to the SAN. Of course back up is easier and management is improved” he continued.

Because of comdivision’s deep knowledge of vSphere Storage characteristics in conjuction with Horizon, the migration could be successfully accomplished by duplicating the existing cluster in the new location.

The Results

“The results are easily explained” said Lenz “after the network change to the new location the complete vSphere and Horizon environment came online as planned!”