Case Study - Data Center Migration

Data Center Migration
data center migration

Executive Summary:
Prime Time International Inc wholesales and supplies agricultural products. The Company produces peppers, tomatoes, watermelons, green beans, and corn, as well as provides packaging and shipping services.  Their data center agreement was up for renewal in early 2021 and the majority of their hardware and software had reached end-of-life.  Rather than renewing the data center agreement and making a CapEx investment for new hardware and software, Prime Time found value in moving from a CapEx model to an OpEx model and migrating their IT infrastructure to AWS.

Utilizing Stratus10’s three-phase migration process, Stratus10 assessed Prime Time’s co-location resources and determined that a rehosting migration pattern with modernization happening after migration completed made the most sense for the customer.  We then built a right-sized and optimized cost projection for running their IT workloads in the cloud. We then helped address gaps in Prime Time’s readiness that were uncovered during the assessment phase, with a focus on building the baseline environment, driving operational readiness, and developing cloud skills via Immersion Day workshops. Finally, we assisted Prime Time to both migrate their IT infrastructure and devise a plan for modernization in order to take advantage of the services AWS has to offer.

About Prime Time International:
More than a quarter-century ago, Prime Time International began the journey of becoming the largest year-round grower, packer, and shipper of premium quality colored peppers in the United States. Known primarily as “The Pepper People,” Primetime has in recent years become a major supplier of sweet mini peppers and asparagus, in addition to a wide variety of seasonal produce items -- from vine-ripened tomatoes and sweet corn to watermelons and green beans. Prime Time uses technologically advanced farming practices throughout the US and Mexico, combined with the operation of state-of-the-art packing facilities, to ensure delivery of the safest and best tasting produce in the marketplace.


Customer Challenges:
Prime Time was at an intersection with their co-located data center agreement up for renewal in early 2021. At the same time, both their hardware and Operating Systems (primarily Windows 2008) had reached end-of-life status and a full refresh was required by the vendors in order to continue to receive support.  Additionally, continuing to license their Citrix environment was expensive and Prime Time was interested in looking at alternatives.

The Prime Time team was aware of the benefits of moving onto the AWS cloud, however did not have the technical expertise to perform the migration on their own.  Additionally, due to the nearly 24/7 hours of operation for the business, the migration out of the data center could not happen at once.

Lastly, the business was headquartered in Coachella, California, their co-located data center was located in Los Angeles, California, requiring the IT team to drive over two hours whenever they needed to service the servers at the data center.  Additionally, the customer has facilities through the southwest United States that are interconnected via Site-to-Site VPN mesh.

Why AWS:
Migrating to AWS provided Prime Time International with a wealth of options to modernize their infrastructure in the future. In addition, the pay-as-you-go pricing model provided with a cost-effective option to host their applications.

Why Stratus10:
Prime Time Produce bidded out the project to four separate vendors, which proposing a different solution and sometime different Cloud Provider, however in the end, Prime Time Produce chose AWS and Stratus10 as their implementation partner.  As an APN Advanced Consulting Partner, Stratus10 has proven that with an experienced AWS Partner working in an in-house IT team, migrations onto the AWS Cloud can be performed with minimal disruption to a business and completed both on-time and without costly budget overruns.  Additionally, because of Stratus10’s Amazon EC2 for Microsoft Windows Server Delivery Partner designation, Prime Time Produce was able to secure funding from AWS sufficient to cover one-third of the project cost.

The Solution:
In order to educate the Prime Time Produce team on AWS and allow them to feel comfortable working with AWS, Stratus10 hosted a multi-day Immersion Day with the Prime Time Produce IT team.  Through a series of presentations and hands-on labs, the team was able to walk through several scenarios and gain an understanding of core AWS services.

Prime Time Produce had standardized on Meraki’s networking solution to provide connectivity from all Prime Time Produce facilities, including the co-location data center, so the first step was to subscribe to the Cisco Meraki vMX100 from the AWS Marketplace which provided a full mesh VPN topology with AWS as the central nexus.

In order to extend Prime Time Produce’s existing Active Directory network to AWS, an EC2 instance was stood up as a local Domain Controller for AWS resources.

Stratus10 then used both CloudEndure and Server Migration Service (SMS) to sync over a number of virtual machines running in the co-located data center.  DataSync was deployed to perform continuous replication of the primary file server until final migration cutover was performed.

For the Citrix environment, a subscription to Citrix ADC VPX Premium - 200 Mbps replaced the aging pair of Netscalers hosted at their data center and then all subsequent Citrix components were built using Citrix Studio and creating a new host connection using the Amazon EC2 option.

The entire migrated environment was then configured for backups using AWS Backup and through a combination of Amazon CloudWatch and AWS Systems Manager Agents, monitoring and alerting was enabled to ensure visibility of the entire AWS environment.

Results and Benefits:
By leveraging Stratus10’s expertise, Prime Time Produce was able to complete the migration of their co-located data center to AWS in just over a month with minimum impact to their business.  Shifting their IT financial model from CapEx to OpEx allowed Prime Time Produce to lower the impact of their IT refresh cycle on their balance sheet by over $100K.

"Stratus10 did a great job with our implementation" said James Wisener, Prime Time Produce's CFO, adding "the overall process was smooth and timely."

Next Steps:
Because Prime Time and Stratus10 agree there is a mutual benefit to continue working together and that Prime Time recognizes Stratus10 as a valuable resource, they have engaged Stratus10 not only as their AWS Reseller but also their Managed Service Provider.  Additionally, as Prime Time modernizes their IT footprint, Stratus10 will be able to help guide their digital transformation journey.

About Stratus10:
Stratus10 is an Advanced AWS Partner Network (APN) Consulting Partner and an AWS DevOps Competency Partner helping companies migrate to the cloud or if they are already on AWS we help them implement best practices. We specialize in DevOps automation, Application Modernization, migration services, and cost optimization to help our clients take full advantage of the latest technologies AWS has to offer.

Use case: Cloud Migration

Client: Prime Time International

Date: December 2020

Category: Migration / Cost Optimization