Q1 FY20 Part 1

Back on October 1st 2019 I decided to take a leap of faith and join the dark side, this has resulted in me becoming the UK’s first dedicated QA for our Custom development teams. Effectively we develop, using our own SDK and lots of other clever tools, the things that customers would love to have, but which do not come out of the box. Having visited many customer sites in the last couple of years, I have nothing but appreciation for the quality and depth of work this team produces, and it’s absolutely my pleasure to be a part of it going forwards.

My first task, set on Day 1 was to own the migration of systems from one domain to the other. Those who have followed any of my previous posts in the last 4 years will be aware I went from small local company to global ERP vendor overnight (June 1st 2016) by way of an acquisition. Well imagine moving that small dev team’s environments into a very well protected and governed American corporate ecosystem, it was effectively sat on for 3 years, and corporate policies dictated we migrated and shutdown the old!

Deciding where to start was easy… Spend a week or so working on testing out a couple of theories, having done domain migrations previously, and work with internal IT teams to put in the relevant requests and procedures to ensure those theories are robust, scalable and secure. Three weeks in and hours had been wasted scripting out a copy and paste scenario, basically a load of PowerShell scripts to do Find/Replace style blitz across 1000s of files, 10 different ERP versions, 200+ development environments (with Databases). Only the one slight snag, even after reworking permissions and roping IT into a 3TB file copy across 2 unconnected domains…. Internally developed environmnent management tooling, which with all its bells and whistles, was not supportive of the new domain, and had hardcoded ties to the older domain’s file server, oops.

Rethink time… Plan B – the best of the lot. Copying databases is one of those things I literally wrote the manual on for Epicor ERP, so that’s easy; building Windows servers has been the last 10 years of my life, so again, sorted; that leaves my understanding of the tooling that sits in the middle, well, fortunately, my new desk backs on to the lovely chap who wrote that tool, even though he now runs our R&D division, so with a few conversations and about 8 lines of code he rebuilt it for me to work on the new environments, allowing me to fully document it as it got deployed and hey presto, a working blank set of servers ready for migrated data was born within a week; including the ability to build any version of ERP 10, using blank, demo or customer data – depending on whether it’s development or QA work, and the ability to use all the latest features and more importantly the latest development tools, by way of Chocolatey!

The next few weeks consisted of identifying what needed to be moved, and what we could spin up later on demand, the resulting list was around 120 required environments, mostly because of productised “Extended Solutions” which need to be built for each version of ERP 10 we support. But also ongoing customer projects, version uplifts, test environments for developers to test their own theories and boost their skills etc. This was a very slow and involved process, per Environment/DB it was not too bad, but in Part 2 (when I write it) I’ll go through how my domain migration project became an environment and process improvement project, featuring Git, Jenkins, CI/CD and

The good news is my Domain Migration which we scheduled to be fully complete, i.e old domain shut down for 24th December 2019, was in fact completed on 6th December 2019, so despite the slightly wasted 3 weeks of testing, scripting, and familiarisation, with all parties on board we (sadly) shutdown the Dot Net IT domain at 17:30 that evening!

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