Essex County Council Data Center Migration Testing
Essex County Council embarked on a program of work to migrate from their existing data center solution to a new hosted data center. The program was time constrained, due to contractually binding migration dates, and Essex County Council needed to engage an independent and objective testing capability to de-risk the migration from the old data center to the new one. Qualitest was asked to work alongside the new hosted data center supplier, working for and on behalf of Essex County Council, to provide independent and objective Quality Assurance, Quality Governance and Testing of the migration program.
Essex County Council is a county council that governs the non-metropolitan county of Essex in England, serving a population of over a million people.
Business Needs and Objectives
In 2009, Essex County Council embarked on a program of work to migrate from their existing data center solution to a new hosted data center. The program was time constrained, due to contractually binding migration dates, and Essex County Council needed to engage an independent and objective testing capability to de-risk the migration from the old data center to the new one. QualiTest was asked to work alongside the new hosted data center supplier, working for and on behalf of Essex County Council, to provide independent and objective Quality Assurance, Quality Governance and Testing of the migration program.
The Qualitest Solution
Having undertaken a large number of migration and infrastructure projects across a wide range of customers in the previous decade, the proposed solution leveraged Qualitest’s domain knowledge, skills and experience in this area.
Drawing on Qualitest’s previous experience with large telecoms providers, government departments and utility companies, Qualitest demonstrated to Essex County Council that they had previously undertaken business critical migrations of many applications, including CRM and billing applications, and the associated databases. These projects involved large scale data migration and, coupled with Qualitest’s experience of testing in complex infrastructure projects, Qualitest were able to assure Essex County Council that they would be able plan, analyze, and design an effective and efficient approach to the data centre migration testing. In addition, Qualitest were also well placed to execute and report on this approach so that Essex County Council was provided with informed risk-based decision making points throughout the program lifecycle. At the heart of the solution were Qualitest’s professionally trained and highly skilled test consultants. Qualitest proposed that Essex County Council engage two of their most technically capable Test Team Leaders, to interface with both the business users and the server and network experts. Export, Transform and Load (ETL) experience and knowledge and experience of leading Data Migration Tools were pivotal to the solution.
In addition, Qualitest provided an Operational Acceptance Test Manager, who also coordinated configuration management activities, environments, defect tracking and defect management. The Operational Acceptance Test Manager and Test Team Leaders were supported by two experienced Test Analysts.
Working closely with the Essex County Council data migration program team, alongside the new hosted data center supplier, QualiTest delivered a clear, effective and efficient risk-based approach and plan for the quality assurance, quality governance and testing of the Essex County Council data migration program. At each step of the lifecycle QualiTest provided key decision making information to Essex County Council about their readiness to progress to the next stage and any risks that would be transferred to the next stage. This has resulted in the successful and seamless migration of the six highest priority applications from the old Primary Data Center to the new infrastructure plus the “lift and shift” migration of more than forty applications from the old Secondary Data Center. This success has led to the extension and re-engagement of Qualitest’s Testing Services for the remaining migration of the forty plus applications which were subject to the “lift and shift” approach.
“I valued the independence and objectivity which the QualiTest team brought to the Essex County Council data migration program. The Test Planning, Test Preparation, Test Execution and Test Reporting have been delivered to an excellent standard and the Test Progress Reporting provided project reassurance and the honest view required. The test deliverables the team have produced have been to the highest standard and the team has the trust of the client project, business teams and Test Manager alike. The QualiTest team provides an honest, yet considered viewpoint and only escalates when absolutely necessary – all actions/decisions are carefully thought through. The QualiTest Team have added value throughout the project, been pivotal in the smooth go live and have required very little management.”
Rob Brown, Data Center Migration Program Test Manager, Essex County Council
“I have the utmost confidence in the QualiTest Test Team which has been one of the work streams in the Data Center Migration Program that I have had to spend the least time with. The weekly reporting of project risk and the tenacious efforts to mitigate the risks and resolve the defects has been a major factor in the success of the Data Center Migration Program which has gone very smoothly with no business impact after go live. The Business feedback has been excellent and the Test Team have engaged the business effectively and managed their expectations well. QualiTest have engaged very effectively with Essex County Council, they are easy to do business with and have delivered everything we have asked to a very high standard and added value above our expectations. If there has ever been a demonstration to ECC of the importance and benefits of structured testing, DCM is it. The disciplines QualiTest embedded within the project were without doubt one of the major contributors to the projects success.”
James Jordan, Program Manager, Information Services & Programs, Essex County Council
“The QualiTest Team has contributed significant value to the successful delivery of the Data Center Migration project. This project represents a significant milestone for us in ECC and the entire organization was relying on us for successful delivery. The efforts of the test team to de-risk the data center migration by honestly reporting the risks and issues and pushing to get them resolved was a major factor in our success.”
Mark Briggs, Chief Information Officer, Information Services, Essex County Council