A United Kingdom-headquartered global law firm and strategic customer of CenturyLink chose to start their digital transformation journey by migrating their services to Microsoft Azure with our assistance.
This customer engaged CenturyLink as a trusted advisor to assess and migrate workloads from their legacy IaaS platform to Microsoft Azure. The main factors for selecting CenturyLink were the depth of our skills, our robust approach to planning, and confidence in our ability to execute the migration within an aggressive timeframe.
During the Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA), CenturyLink established that a separate organization within the business (a newly formed Cloud Center of Excellence) had cntracted with another provider to acquire their Azure tenancy and had built out a small dev environment. This had included network design and an initial look at some Azure best practices around naming conventions, ARM templates and PowerShell scripts for server build automation. However, this CCOE had not shared this training and knowledge across the broader organization. There were very limited capabilities in the part of the business that was working with CenturyLink for this migration. The business overall needed a partner that was able to take on a leadership role and take accountability for designing and driving the migration to completion.
Additional complexity was caused by a subset of the workloads to be migrated being encrypted using a third-party vendor. The relationship with that vendor had since lapsed, and support was unavailable. This meant our team had a very tight window to complete the migration as the customer was running applications at risk.
During the migration Readiness and Planning (MRP) phase, it was agreed that the customer’s Cloud Center of Excellence would build out the necessary network infrastructure, network security groups and storage accounts to match the existing setup. CenturyLink would then focus on creating application dependency mappings, application grouping schedules, functional testing, migration target state architecture, documentation and a creating a detailed migration plan.
To help with these tight deadlines CenturyLink provided an Automation Architect from our Professional Services team that used market-leading Infrastructure as code tool sets (Terraform where possible, otherwise PowerShell) in conjunction with our inhouse multi-cloud application lifecycle management tools. This allowed us to scale, keep the migration costs low and also confirm a working configuration for every wave group with no human errors. We used native Azure migration tools (Azure Site Recovery) so we could do migrations in the working day with very limited loss of service (less than 30 minutes), but still have had an easy failback if needed. This also meant application owners were only needed for short intervals at agreed times, which was key customer request.
A post-migration plan was provided by CenturyLink including clearly-defined responsibilities for the customer and scripts to help remove any agents from the migration and legacy software no longer needed in Azure.
When issues did arise, CenturyLink took ownership of their resolution. For example, it was discovered that the customer had incorrectly configured their Network Virtual Appliances in Azure, CenturyLink took the lead on this and reached out to Microsoft and helped resolve the issue, with very little customer need (except to actually make the configuration changes), so again the customer could focus on the larger strategic project.
Finally, the customer came to CenturyLink mid-migration and advised that they needed to change the disk-naming conventions and had to move to unmanaged disks to resolve an encryption issue. We then provided PowerShell scripts to accomplish this, including testing the scripts and completing the work out of hours. The customer is now using these scripts to help their server automation moving forward.
Our deep expertise also allowed us to provide thought leadership throughout the project, including knowledge transfer of Azure best practices to the customer's Cloud Center of Excellence. We are now also working with the customer on Wave 2 and, as per Microsoft best practices, we are offering architectural designs to move their dedicated VMware infrastructure to higher-level Azure services.
As a result of the success of this project and the close collaboration with Microsoft, CenturyLink is now being recommended by Microsoft as a trusted partner in many other client scenarios in both the public and private sectors.