8 IT Strategy Tips for a Successful Sun Migration

Editor’s Note: CIOUpdate guest columnist Brandon Harris is a senior technologist for Logicalis, which sells remote monitoring, operational management, co-location, and full or partial outsourced partnering.

Mergers and acquisitions always have an air of uncertainty about them. But when you combine longtime players in the enterprise computing space, users who have significant real dollars and years of training aligned with a specific vendor, that uncertainty turns to real business concern.

As the reality of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun really begins to sink in, previously loyal Sun users are re-thinking their go-forward strategies and some are considering platform migrations, weighing the risks of staying with Sun against the risks and potential rewards of adopting a new computing infrastructure.

As a result, Sun users who have concerns about Sun’s ability to support SPARC under Oracle long term need a plan. The following eight steps will help any user who is considering a migration from Sun to a new platform, or considering a mixed platform strategy going forward, to decide what they need to do and how to best accomplish those goals:

Step 1: Decide to make a change – Recognize that you need to make a change and define your level of urgency for that change.

Step 2: Develop a financial baseline – Inventory your existing equipment. Then, determine your current investment and level of depreciation to gauge the ROI of a new or altered infrastructure.

Step 3: Determine the OS(s) that make sense for you – Examine the applications you are running and determine what operating platforms you can move to that will provide the best combination of ROI and performance. Avoid the pitfall of believing that Solaris can’t run on other architectures. Implemented correctly, it can.

Step 4: Take an inventory of your mission critical applications – Can they all run on one platform? If not, you’ll have to re-engineer your existing applications for your newly chosen platform. Be open to the idea of a mixed environment. In some cases, this may be your best route to cost savings and a better return on investment.

Step 5: Design your target infrastructure – A smart migration plan is based on the technical aspects of the new platform, as well as the business aspects uncovered during a thorough analysis of your financial baseline coupled with your total cost of ownership for new equipment.

Step 6: Build a well defined migration plan – Will you move all your applications at once or use a phased approach?

Step 7: Develop a training plan – If you’re a loyal Sun user then you have technical staffers well versed in Solaris, but they’ll need training to understand the new OS(s) and how your specific applications will run on them.

Step 8: Execute the plan – Now is the time to procure the equipment, get it on site, and begin the physical changeover.

One more piece of advice: When considering a company wide platform migration, remember that your own internal IT staff may know the Sun platform inside and out, but may not know HP, for example. If that’s a concern, remember that outsourcing some or all of your regular IT functions even if it’s just for the period of time it takes for your own staff to ramp up on the new platform can be the smartest thing you do. In the short term, it’s a cost efficient way to bridge the gap while everyone gets up to speed on the new system.

Brandon Harris is a senior technologist for Logicalis, an international provider of integrated information and communications technology solutions and services.