HardwareTips and Tricks So You’ve Decided to Upgrade your EPASS ServerSep 05, 2023
In a previous blog post, we discussed how to determine when it’s time to upgrade your computer systems that are used by EPASS.
Once you have determined that you are due for an upgrade to your EPASS Server and you have purchased new hardware, it will be time for you to build a Migration Plan. A detailed plan will help you make sure that the switch-over to the new server happens smoothly with minimal disruption to your users. It will also help you build a timeline to ensure adequate testing and set realistic goals for the migration schedule.
We’ve compiled a list of 14 important considerations you should include in your migration plan:
- Data Backup and Recovery
- Hardware and Software Inventory
- Network Configuration
- Configuration and Setup
- Downtime Planning
- Data Migration
- Monitoring and Performance Tuning
- Remote Access
- Training and Support
- Rollback Plan
- Disaster Planning
1. Data Backup and Recovery
- Perform a comprehensive review of all critical data and configurations that will need to be set up on the new server.
- Test the backups to ensure that they are functional and practice the process to restore from the backup.
- Build a recovery plan in case of any unexpected issues.
2. Hardware and Software
- Document all hardware and software components on the old server.
- Ensure that the new server has the hardware specifications to meet the requirements of your applications and systems.
3. Network Configuration
- Ensure that your network switches, routers, firewalls, and other network infrastructure components are ready to support the new server.
- Plan the server name and IP address to be used. We recommend that when switching over, you rename the old server and give its name and IP to the new one. This means that your EPASS clients and other systems that interface with the server will switch over seamlessly. If you decide to use a new name or IP for the server, it means that you will need to reconfigure all client computers to point to the new address.
4. Configuration and Setup
- Configure the server with the appropriate settings and security measures.
- Ensure that Windows Update and the server’s hardware drivers are all up-to-date.
- If the server will have a new name or IP address, plan to update all client machines, Mobile Tech, etc so that they are pointing to the new address.
- Before switching over, you must perform thorough testing of the new server to ensure that it functions correctly.
- You should set up key individuals with access to the server so that they can verify that they can perform all required actions without issues.
- Verify that scheduled tasks are running successfully when they are supposed to.
- After the switch-over, conduct rigorous checks to verify that all services, applications, tasks, and data are functioning as expected.
6. Downtime Planning
- Determine the best time to perform the switch-over to the new server to minimize disruption to your business operations.
- Loop in EPASS Support well in advance of your planned migration so that arrangements can be made to have the appropriate resources involved.
- Communicate the planned downtime to your employees.
7. Data Migration
- Migrating EPASS to a new server must be performed by EPASS Support and is not something that you can do on your own.
- If there are any non-EPASS systems running on the old server, you will be responsible for migrating them to the new one.
8. Monitoring and Performance Tuning
- Implement server monitoring tools to keep an eye on performance and security, as well as alerting you to any potential issues.
- Ensure that security measures are in place, including firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems.
- Review and update access controls and permissions.
- Implement a security policy that requires strong passwords and prohibits account sharing.
10. Remote Access
- Ensure that EPASS Support has the access they need to troubleshoot and resolve issues effectively.
- Provide your remote users with remote desktop access for logging into EPASS. They should not be connecting to EPASS from their home computer over VPN.
11. Training and Support
- If there are any changes resulting from the server upgrade, be sure to provide training and documentation to your end-users.
- Have a support plan in place so users know where to go to ask questions or report issues.
12. Rollback Plan
- Be prepared to rollback to the old server in the event of the migration encountering insurmountable problems.
13. Disaster Planning
- You should have spare items like hard drives, memory, fans, etc ready to go in case of a hardware failure.
- Ideally, you will have a spare server that you can fall back to in an emergency like a flood or fire. Ideally this should be stored in a separate physical location. A spare server can be used as a staging or play environment until needed. Be aware that without a spare, your systems could potentially be down for weeks while you wait for a new server to be purchased and built.
- Consider working with an IT provider who will be able to host your EPASS database in the cloud, removing the risk of physical damage to your server.
- Server migrations are not included as part of your regular support subscription, and this is a billable service. Contact EPASS Support for a quote on the migration fee.
- Note that there are rush fees should you require EPASS Support to perform a server migration with short notice. It is strongly suggested that you do not rush a server migration unless it is an emergency, such as a critical hardware failure on the old server.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider before jumping into a server migration, but hopefully the information we’ve provided here can help you formalize a plan that ensures your server migration is as smooth as possible.