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How content distribution saved one company’s migration

digital transformation
(Image credit: Image Credit: Chombosan / Shutterstock)

The cloud has changed business as we know it, offering ease, flexibility and cost-efficiency. As such, digital transformation is now gaining attention from enterprises across the globe. But, it’s not as if a large organization can simply leap into the cloud with reckless abandon. Their infrastructure is very much entrenched in on-premises environments that provide great stability and reliability. Additionally, migration can be painful, time-consuming and disruptive to business processes.

There has been much discussion over the past few years as to the best way to move forward, giving rise to hybrid environments that can make the shift a bit easier. OKTiK and Adaptiva recently completed a project for one company taking this step, Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP). We helped CCEP accomplish its digital transformation with relative ease. The key was deploying the right enabling technologies.

Complexity in numbers

For perspective, CCEP is the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler across Europe. It was formed through a merger of three separate Coca-Cola bottling firms which united more than 28,000 employees. CCEP came to OKTiK because it wanted to bring all of these employees onto a single platform, which is a massive undertaking under any circumstance. Tack on the task of migrating legacy systems spread throughout Europe over the course of a global pandemic, and things get complicated.

It was clear that CCEP needed to resolve the incompatibility of legacy systems and platforms in order to function properly; therefore, making a move toward the cloud made sense. This also meant that the company should migrate each of those 28,000 employees’ OS, applications and data from individual workstations; it had to move legacy SharePoint on-premises to SharePoint Online. It also had to overcome new network and security issues. Another requirement: Migration must be completed without impacting business processes. All in all, a very tall order. In fact, more than one person at CCEP said it couldn’t be done.

Given all that it had going on, we ascertained that taking a hybrid approach was right for CCEP to meet the current moment. CCEP wanted stability while moving into a modern architecture that would meet its long-term needs. This translated to a heavy reliance on automation so that business processes remained on track.

And for automation to be helpful in practice, an organization must have precise tools for its specific purposes.

Going under the hood

Enterprise software often suffers from a perception problem. On the surface, it can seem boring, complicated and dry. Not many people within an organization care about why a particular tool, a cog in the wheel so to speak, is essential. But without these pieces, the whole machine would collapse. Such is the case with digital transformation. To make it work, the least visible tools are often the most important.

One of the biggest obstacles to digital transformation is content distribution — how to migrate all of those applications, platforms and the OS to the cloud as well as conducting the subsequent updates, patching, etc. that is required to keep systems secure and performing their best. This process can be remarkably time-consuming, not to mention it utilizes a tremendous amount of bandwidth.

In CCEP’s case, we knew that solving the content distribution piece was critical to a successful migration. With workers already connecting to systems remotely through corporate VPNs due to the spread of Covid-19, bandwidth was at a premium over creaky European networks. Without an efficient way to move content into its new hybrid environment, employees wouldn’t be able to work for approximately two weeks during a process that ran in the background. This would be untenable, causing the entire project to fail.

To overcome this issue, OKTiK partnered with Adaptiva. The new automation platform OKTiK was building for CCEP would leverage Adaptiva’s OneSite, a peer-to-peer content distribution engine, to provide bandwidth control while securely disseminating massive amounts of content in a very short time.

The cog at work

In addition to executing a “typical” migration, we wanted to create a backup of data from each machine for CCEP. To accomplish this, OKTiK put OneSite to work in a novel way — driving function in reverse. The migration was run from each workstation to the content distribution engine’s Virtual SAN to OneDrive so that the backup process could be appropriately managed. These innovative automation technologies were applied to temporarily create an entire data center on each subnetwork.

This entire process ran efficiently in the background as employees soldiered on, their processes unimpeded. Most had no idea that any of this work was ever occurring, which is exactly how a migration should be.

Migrations grew from zero to 700 users in two weeks. The number climbed to 28,378 user migrations by the project’s completion. Additionally, approximately 78,000,000 files were migrated to OneDrive. This would be impossible without an effective content distribution engine, which will remain a part of CCEP’s automation platform for the long term, deploying updates, patches, software and applications to both cloud and on-prem environments under the radar so that every machine maintains proper security and performance at all times.

Content distribution considerations

Content distribution (patches, applications and other updates) is a pivotal part of the enterprise digital transformation story. Therefore, it is important that enterprise IT teams understand the underlying role it plays. Having embarked on over 30 major enterprise migrations over the past 10 years, this is what we expect from a content distribution engine:

  • A single download solution from which content can be securely distributed to thousands of machines.
  • Guaranteed content delivery with the ability to adapt to network constraints and latency.
  • Automated software distribution that eliminates manual operations without the need to code.
  • The ability to distribute content without affecting business traffic or bandwidth throttling.
  • The ability to store content without affecting endpoints or requiring storage servers.

Embracing these features will make the migration process infinitely simpler and exponentially faster.

As more enterprises embark on their digital transformation, the benefits of cloud-based environments will be realized, but they will only get there with the right tools in place — the right cogs in the wheel — so that everything runs as it should.

Graham Brant, Partner, OKTiK (opens in new tab)

Graham Brant at OKTiK is a veteran in driving large-scale digital transformation programs, building on previous experience gained as a founding member of the Global Microsoft Consulting Group.