Testing, Testing – When and How to Test Your Migration Program
The migration has gone smoothly; you’ve finished on schedule and kept downtime to a minimum. Time to go home, or are there some nagging doubts in your mind?
A final test before launch should put your mind at rest. But, what happens if some unexpected issues show up? Do you delay the launch, or just accept that there might be some initial glitches?
Develop a Test Plan
There is a better way, and that’s to put together a comprehensive test plan – before, during and after the migration. It could save a lot of headaches on launch day. Your plan should cover all the elements that will be affected by the migration, including servers, drivers, power and cooling systems, and networks. You should also test the accuracy of a sample batch of data.
Your test plan should indicate the stages and steps when testing should be carried out. The plan should define the metrics or other indicators that must be achieved before moving to the next stage. And, the plan should incorporate a roll-back procedure in the event of a major issue.
Pretest to Reduce Risk
Pretesting elements before you start moving could reduce risk and save time during the main part of the migration. Pretesting can take place about a week before your scheduled start date. Check with business users that pretesting does not coincide with any critical activities.
It’s important to update and test all drivers, particularly those that need new drivers to ensure compatibility with operating system changes in the new environment. However, it’s also essential to check that new or updated drivers remain compatible with other older dependant systems that may not be upgraded.
Check the operation of older disk drives and power supplies to ensure they do not require maintenance or replacement. Experts recommend shutting down any machines for a short period before restarting and testing. This will ensure that disk drives and power supplies can cope with cold starts.
Don’t forget to communicate any changes of IP address in the new site to users before launch date. They may have to reboot to access equipment with a new address.
Maintain a Tight Testing and Approval Cycle
During migration, make sure you complete and validate all the planned tests in line with your schedule. You should also nominate a member of the team to take responsibility for validating, approving and recording all test results.
Accurate recording is particularly important if your business is subject to regulatory compliance and you must record any changes to the IT environment.
Make Final Checks before Launch
A final check before the new data center goes live is essential. Make sure all servers, networks and environmental services are working. It’s also worth checking that data has been transferred accurately and secured in line with company policies. Check that your team has issued users with new passwords if necessary.
If testing has been carried out at each stage, your users should be able to resume normal working and access all their applications and services quickly and efficiently.
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