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Cloud Enablement & Operations

GreenPages’ Journey to the Cloud – The Vision Is Complete

Imagine taking the entire core infrastructure of a $100 Million company, loading it into a couple of trucks, and driving it 60 miles down the road to a colocation facility.  Add to that the challenge of making sure a 24x7x365 Managed Services organization stays running, even while some of their key systems are bouncing down the highway in the aforementioned convoy.  And, for the icing on the cake—throw in the pressure of knowing that, if you screw it all up, odds are you’ll be looking for a new job, likely something along the line of “you want fries with that?”… 

Sound crazy?  A little, I guess.  It’s definitely not something I recommend you try if you have a weak heart or a low tolerance for stressful situations.

But, that’s exactly what we did with our own internal infrastructure.  And, as you can guess by the fact that I’m still employed and writing this blog entry, the move was a success; GreenPages is now running in “The Cloud.”

I wish I could say that the entire process went smooth as glass, and that we didn’t have a single glitch, but that’s just not the case.  In projects of this magnitude and complexity, Mr. Murphy of Murphy’s Law fame, (you know – the guy who once said “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”), is always waiting around to join the party, and he decided to crash ours.  I’ll tell you about the delays, the truck accident, how a missed configuration turned things from SNAFU to FUBAR, and how we got through it all in future posts.  I’ll also get into the why and some of the details of the how later.

For now, here are some bullet points that outline our corporate IT infrastructure:

  • Our entire infrastructure is in a cage at Windstream’s (formerly Hosted Solutions) colocation facility in Boston, MA.
  • GreenPages was the first customer to move into Windstream’s brand-new “DC200” datacenter.
  • There are no servers in any of our corporate offices (Kittery, Charlestown, Attleboro, and New York City)
  • Our environment is 100% virtualized, running:
    • VMware vSphere 4.1 on 11 Cisco UCS blades
    • VMware View 4.6 providing VDI environment for our entire employee base
    • Cisco Unified Communications 8.x running virtualized on the UCS blades
    • Our entire corporate workforce can access VDI from any location that has an internet connection, using almost any device, including an Apple iPad.
    • Our corporate web server and /  are both running on a VM in Terremark’s Enterprise Cloud

In my next blog post, I’ll discuss the initial vision and what lead to the decision to move to the cloud.