High-quality delivery at high speed
Once the migration project started, it would have made no sense to rapidly migrate terabytes of data if the business couldn’t function properly at go-live. As Martin said, “Put simply, with this migration we just couldn’t afford for anything to go wrong.”
Eurostar needed the AWS migration to fulfill its intention of reducing the frustration users felt when waiting for screens to refresh or having to leave payroll processes to complete overnight. Therefore, every element of the migration was broken down into individual activities. Some elements could be set up and then left to run but others required minute-by-minute technical oversight. This is where Hitachi’s ability to combine onshore and offshore expertise added extra value to the project.
With the ability to increase the workload whenever required without disrupting the process, the Oracle EBS cloud migration also benefited from a sprint methodology. The combined Hitachi and Eurostar team had ‘bursting’ capabilities that meant it could quickly put people onto a particular task to get it over the line. “When we said we’d turn it on, we turned it on,” said Nicola. “In fact, we finished early and had a couple of hours to spare before go-live. It was more successful than we thought.”
Achieving the “unachievable”
Hitachi was tasked with implementing the lead architect’s designs. It appointed a dedicated delivery officer while also drawing on expertise from across its internal architect forum. It then set about validating existing systems ready for the migration with a physical and logical assessment that would give Eurostar the confidence to go live.
“With Hitachi, no task was too big or too small – everyone ‘mucked in’,” explained Nicola. “In my view, what we achieved in migrating that number of databases in that short amount of time has set the standard for the industry.”
Nicola continued, “We had to deliver in a record number of months. But Hitachi exceeded expectations. Everyone was impressed – especially those who hadn’t worked directly with them on the migration. For every day we were late, there would have been large costs, and yet all that data went in on time.”
As Laurent pointed out, “Remember, this was a quick process. It was a very important project to Hitachi and us. It was a real challenge and they delivered.”
Yet the migration itself was never the end goal. The real objective was to improve the way Eurostar worked with Oracle EBS and empower its teams to make incremental improvements that would deliver business results in the future.
Fewer issues, more agility
Originally, Martin had concerns about the functional impact of moving to the cloud. “We had questions about how responsive the system would be – for example, when users logged on to the cloud. If anything, it’s faster. The previous system was painfully slow at times. So, for me, the really positive thing has been having non production systems that run almost at the same speed as the live environment.” For any given project or delivery, the testing cycles were reduced.
This boost in the front- and back-end Oracle EBS performance has resulted in faster interfaces with banks, HMRC and other cloud systems connected to Oracle EBS. Martin’s team can now do more testing than ever before and easily switch over services when ready.
Performance issues are a thing of the past. Eurostar has the agility it requires and Hitachi has become a key partner for ongoing IT infrastructure management.
For Nicola, the difference was clear from the moment the cloud service went live. “Performance improved markedly. Calls to our Service Desk about Oracle EBS were virtually eliminated. All in all, the underlying tension within the business because the system wasn’t working as it should, suddenly just disappeared.”
“We knew we would save money by shifting away from a CapEx infrastructure model,” Laurent explained. “But it was about more than that. Now that we are in the cloud with Oracle EBS on AWS, the previous performance issues have gone. We have the agility we wanted and can modify the design of our infrastructure so much faster – in days or even hours.”
The AWS platform offers deeper analytical capabilities, allowing Eurostar greater visibility of what can be improved incrementally with no need for the rushed upgrades and downtime of the past. As an additional benefit, Hitachi was able to provide Eurostar with a standardized database platform for about 30 of its non-Oracle systems at the same time.
Initially only contracted to continue the applications support for Oracle EBS on AWS, Hitachi’s involvement did not end at go-live. After Hitachi demonstrated value throughout the migration process, Eurostar has entrusted additional Oracle operations support on the AWS platform to Hitachi, post-implementation.
As Laurent revealed, “Hitachi knew how to interact with our business and testing teams. It has demonstrated success by smoothly migrating Oracle EBS to AWS. I consider Hitachi to be a reliable partner and I fully expect this to be an ongoing relationship.”