The other day we had an interesting project come across our helpdesk. A client of ours has an old mail archive application that they need to maintain for history sake, though they aren’t adding new messages to that archive. To complicate things, that app lived on an old out of warranty Dell server. No problem – Dell servers tend to last forever if you give them a little tender love and care every once and a while and we back this server up with a Datto backup appliance.
You can probably guess where this is heading – our team started getting alerts that a hard drive was predicted to fail on this server.
The most obvious option was to recommend that the customer purchase a new hard drive to replace the one that was going to fail. This is a good, low-cost option that would extend the life of the server a bit. However, I never enjoy spending customer’s money if there’s another option.
We had implemented a multi-server virtualization solution with shared storage for this customer’s production environment a while ago and that system still had plenty of capacity to handle one more virtual server. Our engineering design team discussed the various options we could present to the client and determined that turning the old physical server into a virtual server was the most cost effective solution for the client (labor was on us for this one because they are under a managed services contract) and this helps with some of the other goals we have for this client’s network.
We scheduled a maintenance window with the client and took one final backup with the Datto appliance. Then we exported that backup as virtual disk images for each drive on the server and imported them as a new virtual machine. Fast forward an hour and a half including several reboots to install paravirtualization drivers and the legacy archiving application is back in business. An added bonus is that the application runs faster than before because it’s on more robust hardware.
Easiest server migration ever. Thanks Datto!