Overview of a migration project

A migration project for any live WebSphere Commerce site is an activity that should be carefully thought out. There are three main phases to the migration project – the planning phase, the practice phase, and the production migration phase. Each of these phases requires its own skills and resources. Allocating sufficient time for each activity is crucial to ensure that no key tasks are forgotten.

There are resources available to assist you with planning your migration project:

Planning phase

In the planning phase, you take inventory of your current WebSphere Commerce assets, such as documentation, machines, software, instances, databases, and custom code. Knowing what customizations have been performed, and where your system integrates with external systems, is crucial.

  • Document your business requirements:
    • Determine if the requirements dictate that you need to use a different WebSphere Commerce business model or edition.
    • Gather all documentation you have available on the current site, including design documents, use cases, and test cases for the current implementation. If the documentation is not current, consider updating it, and ensuring you have access to the original development staff.
  • Document your hardware requirements
    Tip: Using new hardware for migrating the production environment is recommended, as the original environment can be used as a fallback environment. Using new hardware also minimizes site downtime, because the following tasks can be performed :
    • The new environment can be installed and configured in advance
    • Migrated customizations can be deployed and validated in advance
    • If you are planning to add more hardware, you can use the new hardware for the new site and then use the current hardware to add additional capacity or as additional testing environments. Adequate performance test systems are an important part of a high performance WebSphere Commerce site architecture.
  • Separate the base migration from the development of new features. An exception to this would be if your business users were moving from using WebSphere Commerce Accelerator to using the Management Center.
  • Know the skills you are going to require for each stage of the migration, for example:
    • A project manager
    • A solution architect who understands the site topology, integration points, and all technologies used.
    • A database administrator
    • Developers experienced in the languages used for any customizations you performed.
  • Ensure that your development environments and test environments are synchronized with the version of the code currently in production.
  • Create a detailed schedule including users, passwords, tasks, owners, timing, check points, validation steps, and roll back plans
    • Determine if any training is required for your technical or business staff, in order to use new technologies, programming languages, or related software.

Practice phase

The practice phase is divided into two or more parts, depending on your business.
Migrating the development environment
  • Attempt to migrate a development environment early in the project, in order to identify changes required to your custom code.
  • It is important to successfully migrate a development environment early if you have developers waiting to write code on the new version of WebSphere Commerce.
Tip: Create a new development environment, and then migrate your WebSphere Commerce site as-is. You can regression test the resulting site to see what works and what doesn't, and refine your project plan.
Migrating the test environment
  • Perform end-to-end migration to learn what to expect during production migration.
  • Reduces uncertainty and downtime during migration.
  • Timing each migration activity on the test environment will provide valuable input that you can use to refine your project schedule for the production migration phase.
  • A test staging server is a valuable asset in this phase to test rebuilding the staging server from your test server.

Production migration phase

In the production migration phase, the live WebSphere Commerce system is migrated and switched in to replace the old WebSphere Commerce installation. This activity is usually performed during a planned production outage phase. The value of the planning and practice phase is realized fully at this time, as technical staff have performed the activities before.

The staging server is rebuilt from the new production server after this outage, using the stagingcopy utility.