Checklist for Migration of Web Application from Traditional Hosting to Cloud

In 2010, Cloud Computing is likely to see increasing adoption. Migrating Web applications from one data center to another is a complex project. To assist you in migrating Web applications from your hosting facilities to cloud hosting solutions like Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure or RackSpace’s Cloud offerings, I’ve published a set of checklists for migrating Web applications to the Cloud.

These are not meant to be comprehensive step-by-step, ordered project plans with task dependencies. These are checklists in the style of those used in other industries like Aviation and Surgery where complex projects need to be performed. Their goal is get the known tasks covered so that you can spend your energies on any unexpected ones. To learn more about the practice of using checklists in complex projects, I recommend the book Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

Your project manager should adapt them for your project. If you are not familiar with some of the technical terms below, don’t worry: Your engineers will understand them.

Pre-Cutover Migration Checklist

The pre-cutover checklist should not contain any tasks that “set the ship on sail”, i.e. you should be able to complete the pre-cutover tasks, pausing and adjusting where needed without worry that there is no turning back.

  • Set up communications and collaboration
    • Introduce migration team members to each other by name and role
    • Set up email lists and/or blog for communications
    • Ensure that appropriate business stakeholders, customers and technical partners and vendors are in the communications. (E.g. CDN, third-party ASP)
  • Communicate via email and/or blog
    • Migration plan and schedule
    • Any special instructions, FYI, especially any disruptions like publishing freezes
    • Who to contact if they find issues
    • Why this migration is being done
  • Design maintenance message pages, if required
  • Setup transition DNS entries
  • Set up any redirects, if needed
  • Make CDN configuration changes, if needed
  • Check that monitoring is in place and update if needed
    • Internal systems monitoring
    • External (e.g. Keynote, Gomez)
  • Create data/content migration plan/checklist
    • Databases
    • Content in file systems
    • Multimedia (photos, videos)
    • Data that may not transfer over and needs to be rebuilt at new environment (e.g. Search-engine indexes, database indexes, database statistics)
  • Export and import initial content into new environment
  • Install base software and platforms at new environment
  • Install your Web applications at new environment
  • Compare configurations at old environments with configurations at new environments
  • Do QA testing of Web applications at new environment using transition DNS names
  • Review rollback plan to check that it will actually work if needed.
    • Test parts of it, where practical
  • Lower production DNS TTL for switchover

During-Cutover Migration Checklist

  • Communicate that migration cutover is starting
  • Data/content migration
    • Import/refresh delta content
    • Rebuild any data required at new environment (e.g. Search-engine indexes, database indexes, database statistics)
  • Activate Web applications at new environment
  • Do QA testing of Web applications at new environment
  • Communicate
    • Communicate any publishing freezes and other disruptions
    • Activate maintenance message pages if applicable
  • Switch DNS to point Web application to new hosting environment
  • Communicate
    • Disable maintenance message pages if applicable
    • When publishing freezes and any disruptions are over
    • Communicate that the Web application is ready for QA testing in production.
  • Flush CDN content cache, if needed
  • Do QA testing of the Web application in production
    • From the private network
    • From the public Internet
  • Communicate
    • The QA testing at the new hosting location’s production environment has passed
    • Any changes for accessing tools at the new hosting location
  • Confirm that DNS changes have propagated to the Internet

Post-Cutover Migration Checklist

  • Cleanup
    • Remove any temporary redirects that are no longer needed
    • Remove temporary DNS entries that are no longer needed
    • Revert any CDN configuration changes that are no longer needed
    • Flush CDN content cache, if needed
  • Check that incoming traffic to old hosting environment has faded away down to zero
  • Check that traffic numbers at new hosting location don’t show any significant change from old hosting location
    • Soon after launch
    • A few days after launch
  • Check monitoring
    • Internal systems monitoring
    • External (e.g. Keynote, Gomez)
  • Increase DNS TTL settings back to normal
  • Archive all required data from old environment into economical long-term storage (e.g. tape)
  • Decommission old hosting environment
  • Communicate
    • Project completion status
    • Any remaining items and next steps
    • Any changes to support at new hosting environment

The checklists are also published on the RevolutionCloud book Web site at www.revolutioncloud.com/2010/01/checklists-migration/ and on the Checklists Wiki Web site at www.checklistnow.org/wiki/IT_Web_Application_Migration

Amazon NowNow Gives Politically Incorrect Answer on Where To Learn Spanish

The Amazon Kindle mobile reading device comes with their NowNow service included, where you can ask any question you like and you get a response from a paid human researcher. I asked a question and got the unexpected answer below.

I do believe this was an honest mistake by a researcher trying to be helpful. NowNow is a useful and good service.

Update: Amazon resolved the issue. See their follow up responses that I’ve posted in the comments section below.

[rating:3.5/5]

—–Original Message—–
From: NowNow [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Tue 1/22/2008 10:48 PM
To: Rajiv Pant
Subject: RE: What are some good places to learn Spanish in evenings and/or weekends in Manhattan New York City?

Your Question:
What are some good places to learn Spanish in evenings and/or weekends in Manhattan New York City?

Answer from NowNow:
Get a job at any restaurant and work in the back.

Get a job in the back of a restaurant and you will make money and learn spanish from your co-workers.

Source:
Opinion

NowNow, let us be politically correct :-)

If they had said instead a Spanish or Mexican restaurant, that would have been acceptable, but in the back of any restaurant? That’s presumptuous.

If you’d like to suggest a better answer to my question about learning Spanish, please feel welcome to leave a comment here.

The Amazon Kindle is a Practical & Excellent Reading Device (Product Review)

The Amazon Kindle is an excellent reading device. It is a good example of a product that serves its purpose well. Like a paper book, it you can use it in bed, bathroom, bus and boondocks.

The E Ink display presents an experience quite close to that of reading a book on paper: It is easy on the eyes and can be read indoors or outdoors in sunlight. It is lightweight, about the size of a paperback book and simple to use. It has excellent battery-life so you can enjoying read without worrying about recharging it often.

In some reviews people have criticized the Kindle as a Web browser and email client. As a satisfied user of the Kindle, I respectfully disagree with those criticisms: It is not meant to be a general purpose notebook computer or tablet PC nor a web browsing or email client. It is for reading books and documents, allowing you to focus on the content while providing you an experience equal to or better than reading on printed paper.

In fact, if Amazon had made web browsing too easy with it, it might end up being counter to the purpose of the Kindle, which is to read books: to learn or for the enjoyment of being engrossed in reading. Many of us prefer our book readers to not offer distractions like web browsing or email while reading. While I love the Web and its hypertext links, there are times I just want to focus and read a book or a document.

[amazon-product]B0015T963C[/amazon-product]The Kindle enables you to be more environment-friendly by saving trees. Many books, newspapers, magazines and blogs are already available on it. You can also transfer your own documents to it for convenient reading without printouts. (You email your document to a special automated email address for conversion. Amazon gives you two options to have it on your Kindle: One for a small fee where your document is wirelessly sent back to your Kindle, the other for free where they email it back to you and you need to copy it over from a computer to your Kindle using USB. You can also download free software to convert documents on your own computer.)

You save paper, yet still can carry your document to read in a convenient, lightweight, portable and easy to read medium. As a bonus, your document is searchable and your bookmarks, clippings, highlighting and notes can be transferred to your computer.

You don’t need a computer at all to take advantage of all the main features of a Kindle, but a computer does allow you to get even more value from your Kindle: You can use it instead of printouts and you can copy audio books and music to your Kindle for listening via its speakers or a headset.

As an educational tool, the Kindle comes with another useful and time-saving feature. You can ask a question using the Kindle which is answered by an Amazon-affiliated human researcher at no additional charge. The Kindle not distract your reading with Web browsing or email and it gives you a way to save some time which you would have spent researching yourself via Web searches — and we know how that can be: Sometimes you go the Web to look up something and end up wasting time on other things. With this Amazon Kindle’s research service called NowNow, you send your question via the Kindle and a human expert does the research for you and sends you the answers they find.

The Kindle can be charged using the A00 Tip with an iGo Adapter, which is great because you can carry it on hiking trips and to places where an electrical outlet is not conveniently available and charge it using two double-A batteries using the iGo powerXtender.

Want to take a break from Web surfing that encourages the attention span of a goldfish? Try the Kindle and enjoy being focussed and engrossed in a book. You can learn about all its features and benefits, watch videos and read its reviews at the Kindle page on Amazon.com.1

[rating:4/5]

  1. Note & Disclosure: the links to the Kindle pages in this article tell Amazon that I referred them. If you happen to buy it in that session, I will get a commission but they will not charge you any extra. I like the Kindle and thus wrote this favorable, and in my opinion, fair review. It expresses my opinions and shares my experience with the Kindle. The purpose of this review is not at all to profit from selling Kindles. []