Migrating 1,100 websites to Google Cloud Platform in just 30 days

Company Overview

Automation can significantly reduce the time and resources it takes to migrate digital assets and inventory to the cloud. But disparate architectures, configurations, versions and other factors complicate the process—and that can be a huge problem when there is a tight migration deadline to meet. That’s the situation, VerticalScope, a Canadian digital media and entertainment firm found itself in. VerticalScope operates a large number of high-traffic websites and wanted to standardize their underlying infrastructure by moving them all to Google Cloud Platform (GCP). VerticalScope used Pythian to augment and accelerate their migration, and sprint the last 30 days of migrating website assets to GCP. With the clock ticking, Google referred to Pythian, one of its top partners, as the company that could be airlifted in and get the job done on time.

Business Need

VerticalScope had one month to migrate the Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (LAMP) servers for 1,100 websites from IBM Softlayer to the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) on GCP. However, the process could not be fully automated for two reasons: the crunched timeline and because the back-end architecture of the sites was not consistent—there were many different databases and software configurations at play. And because these sites have such a large user base, the migration needed to happen with zero downtime. To have any hope of meeting its aggressive 30-day deadline, VerticalScope needed the help of a team that was large enough, had the technical proficiency to quickly get up to speed, evaluate and migrate each site, and integrate quickly and seamlessly with VerticalScope engineering.
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Pythian brought two key things to this project: a global team with deep technical knowledge and a wealth of cloud migration experience to add to VerticalScope’s own talent, and a solid process to overcome the challenge of not being able to automate much of the migration. Because of the project’s massive scope and tight timelines, Pythian launched an “all-hands-on-deck” approach. It pulled in resources across many different teams—from site reliability engineers to project managers—to get the job done. Pythian’s global team also allowed it to essentially work around the clock, advancing the project in shifts based on time zones. This meant zero downtime, as migrated sites were fully ready for cutover at the start of the firm’s business hours. Strong organization and effective processes enabled Pythian to quickly organize and direct its teams to get the project underway as soon as possible. With automation not an option, each migration for each site was essentially a bespoke process. This limitation made the task a lot more complex—but Pythian was still able to introduce some automation to the process. Pythian’s engineers wrote scripts that automated much of the prep work that happens before a site migration. Optimizing and automating these workflows allowed Pythian to get started with the actual migrations much more quickly.
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VerticalScope hit their GCP migration milestone, completing the job supported by Pythian, with no downtime or impact on site users in the 30 day window. With its sites running on GCP, the firm now has a solid foundation from which to grow and can realize benefits like flexibility, scalability and cost-efficiency.

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"We definitely didn’t have the luxury of time, so we knew we needed a partner with the right skills and expertise to have any hope of meeting our deadline. We found that in Pythian. We couldn’t have done it without their extensive cloud and infrastructure migration experience, effective processes and great communication.”


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