Four week datacentre migration: doing it the Agile way

Working Agile with giffgaff teams, Pelicam provided project guidance on appropriate, risk-balanced steps to deliver a successful four week datacentre migration.

The Problem

When giffgaff’s datacentre supplier collapsed unexpectedly, administrators restricted access to customer data (and backups), and said that the datacentre could be turned off at any time, giving just 24 hours notice at one point. With no physical access to servers, backups, data, and limited management of the database systems, giffgaff needed to urgently migrate 25 servers which would normally take six months. Pelicam recognised the need to balance speed with safety, whilst maintaining business continuity and reducing the impact on customers. 

The Solution

Giffgaff operates an Agile business model so Pelicam used small, iterative cycles to fit in with their methods. Traditional project planning would have been too prescriptive for giffgaff, so principles of the Pelicam Assurance Method were used to quickly prioritise tasks, and ensure that governance allowed swift decisions to be made when needed.

Critically, the Pelicam team dynamically balanced the risks – managing the concerns around the loss of customer data (and associated contingencies) with the need for an assured data migration and enterprise level rigorous testing.

Matching giffgaff's existing status and culture with the Pelicam approach

Matching giffgaff's existing status and culture with the Pelicam approach

The Results

Although it took three dry runs before pushing the button to switch to the migrated data, Pelicam proved that “practice makes perfect” by challenging traditional ways of working at every stage, and “innovating as we went” (Ross Catley, Senior Pelicam Practitioner).

Pelicam managed the project in such a way that the successful migration was undertaken within four weeks and customer inconvenience was minimised. giffgaff’s new product development was quickly back on track, whilst the senior team put plans in place with new suppliers to reduce risks for the future.

“Working with agile teams, Pelicam shaped and led the migration of core data centre applications to a new provider, under extreme time pressure. Integrity of data was imperative throughout, so Pelicam implemented appropriate controls to support accelerated but secure delivery, using a pragmatic approach to remove delivery barriers, and enabling smart decisions based on situational context and intelligence. Similar moves have taken up to 6 months, but Pelicam and giffgaff delivered it successfully in less than 4 weeks.”
— Nigel Sudell, COO, giffgaff
Joe MayerAgile