Any physical migration of servers which has live customers hosted on them is a real pain both for the customers and for the web hosting company. That's why we have always avoided to do such migration and preferred to migrate virtual accounts or virtual instances from one machine to another. However this morning (July 16, 2011) we have had to physically migrate one VPS system on which we host had a number of important Virtual Servers to our new data center in South Bend, In.
The reason to do this was that in this case it would be better for our VPS customers hosted on this machine to have a short, scheduled interruption of service and to keep all the configurations on their virtual servers as there used to be (IP's DNS, database an scripting setting, etc.) instead of migrating their instances on a new systems and to force them to change the IP space.
So we have scheduled a migration for 3 am EDT (8 am GMT) and at 2.50 am EDT (7.70 am GMT) we have begin shutting down the VPS system. It hosts Virtuozzo Containers VPS accounts. Some of you might know than when you take a Virtuozzo based system down and start it after that, it usually does a disc quota check. Depending of the volume of data and on the size of the virtual servers, the check might take up to 4 hours. During that time all services which a VPs account owner runs are down. So before shutting down the VPS machine we made a small change in the settings and set "DISK_QUOTA=no" and "VZFASTBOOT=yes". This allowed us to skip the disc quota check and to reduce the interruption of service.
The server has been taken off the rack at the old site at 3.10 am EDT and has been installed into a cabinet in he new Host Color's data center around 3.40 am EDT. Shortly after the machine was connected, we found out that some additional routing and IP configurations should be made on our routers. It took us another 40 minutes to make everything to work fine and to properly install and configure the machine into out new network.
The machine was back online around 3.50 am EDT. The virtual private servers have begun rebooting and started doing a disc quota check, one by one. The whole migration was successfully completed around 4.40 am EDT and all the VPS accounts were back online around 4.50 am. We needed to make some changes in the IP configurations of four (4) of the Virtual Private Servers and it took us 30 more minutes to do this.
We expected that the whole migration to take us not more than 60 - 70 minutes, but as usually happens it has taken almost 2 hours.
We have send messages on Twitter and in our Facebook account at the time when the server was shut down. We've sent another notification when the all the services on the VPS accounts went up. E-mails were also sent to all customers hosted on the server.
All customers who have Virtual Private Servers on the server we have just migrated to the new data center will enjoy Host Color's new fully-redundant network and a high-quality bandwidth from Level 3 and Internap.
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