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!

Busy Times

So, as 2012 draws towards its close, I sit here, typing on a funky iPad2 with a bluetooth keyboard,
wondering why it feels busier than ever.

This latter part of the year has seen me running (virtually on my own) the infrastructure of 2 very different companies. Firstly, my career job, the home from home that is my Infrastructure Manager position at BMS. A very successful year in infrastructure terms, despite the network outages a few months ago, and the conficker spread in March it has been reasonably quiet. That said the workforce has practically doubled and the server rooms have seen numerous additions. The company’s ambitions continue to match my own and 2013 looks set to be even busier.
Secondly, Redsumo.com, the friendly, local web design, it services and hosting company, founded in 2010 and run out of an office in Alcester with servers hosted on the interweb. Well, what a change we’ve seen there. With an office move into Studley and an even more ambitious server migration to locally hosted servers, a mere few feet from my own desk! Redsumo has continued to take a lot of my time, with building, configuring and maintaining the web and email systems as well as helping with the migrations and even a fair bit of web coding, something that has always been a passion of mine. Redsumo has become more of a Web Development & Hosting company over the last few months, with the IT services gradually phased out. The site has seen a revamp, with new products sitting alongside the old and trusted services that have been provided since day 1. A new WordPress based blog has also been developed to provide a news platform for existing customers to share their stories and prospective customers to see into what we do and how we do it. The Blog project has been something of a success for me, practically recoding an entire theme with many customisations to make it like no other out there. Whilst on the outside it looks plain and simple, I
assure you underneath the hood there’s a lot of clever things going on!

2013 looks set to be a busy, and hopefully compelling year for both companies, and therefore for myself as well. I’m really looking forward to the challenges ahead.