How do you migrate hundreds of ecommerce stores without creating havoc?

Storefront Migration Plans

That’s the magic question I’ve answered multiple times over the past few days:  “Jess, how are you going to keep this migration from being a nightmare? It sucked in 2009 when LaGarde was acquired and I just know it’s going to suck again.”  Well, my answer is .. It’s Magic!  Okay, it’s not really magic, it’s technology and technology has advanced a long way in the last few years.  But I’m confident we can do this migration because, we’ve done more complex migrations recently.  Let me share with you what we’ve done in the past.

1000 Servers, 30TB of  data, 1500 Miles and 4 hours of downtime.

What’s all that mean? It means that 3 years ago we moved around 1,000 virtual servers and 30 terabytes of data 1500 Miles (that was from Lenexa, KS to Miami, FL) and our customers experienced on average 4 hours of downtime.  That’s the migration we did about 3 years ago when my company acquired another cloud hosting company.  It was a huge success because of my team, the technology we used and the planning that went into it.  I know what you’re thinking “4 hours is long time for an ecommerce store!”.  You’re right it is, but we’re also not moving as many servers this time and we’re moving them within the same Amazon region this time too. So I don’t think it will take 4 hours.

Need more proof? 60 servers, 6 TB of data from San Francisco, CA to Miami, FL minimal downtime.

In this case we were consolidating servers we purchased as part of an acquisition nearly 7 years ago and bringing everything together into Miami. This time we used a software program called Veeam Replication to do it and the downtime for the customers impacted was in most instance equivalent to a server reboot and DNS updates.  Pretty similar to the migration we’re faced with for you!

But that’s all fine and good, let’s get to how we’re going to migrate your storefront services.

Let’s get to the questions and *MY* migration.

#1) How long will it take when you move my web store?

I think most websites will experience a server reboot and then a DNS update. I expect for most customers we’re looking at 5 minutes, for some as much as 30 minutes. It really depends on the DNS update times as we change IP addresses.  For most merchants we control your DNS today and will be able to make the DNS changes for you.

#2) How are you going to do this feat of magic?

Well it’s not really magic. You see, we’re going to mirror the servers that Freestyle has hosting the storefront stores today in the Amazon Cloud to our own space within the same Amazon Cloud. This means data transfer from the freestyle environment to our environment is going to be very fast.   We’re going to use server mirroring software called, Double-Take to do this for us. It will create the initial replication of data over the next few days from the old (Freestyle) environment to the new (AwesomeCommerce) environment and then each time something changes in the Freestyle environment it will update in our new environment at the same time. This all happens transparently in the background and with no impact to the production servers. So when we’re ready to switch from the old environment to the new environment here’s all we have to do:

  • First we shutdown the old environment and do one final data replication from the old environment to the new environment.
  • Next we start up the new environment.
  • Then we test to make sure everything came up smoothly and is communicating with each other.
  • Once we’re certain everything is up then we update DNS and call it a day.

It’s literally that easy. Now it can take a little longer than 5 minutes but it all depends on the replication and how frequently data changes on the servers.  We’re doing test migrations right now so we’ll have a better idea of how long it will take shortly.

#3) When do you plan to perform this transfer?

We’re working on that right now actually. You see with the software we’re using we’re able to do this migration, test everything out in the new environment and make sure everything works correctly without ever taking down or impacting the current live/production environment. So if we’re going to run into any problems we’ll know before we ever do the migration.

#4) What if this Double-Take doesn’t work?

It will work. Vision Solutions that makes Double-Take is a partner of ours and it has worked very well in the past. But in the worst case scenario it doesn’t work then we have to use the built in tools in Amazon AWS to backup the servers and restore them in the new environment. If we have to do that we’re looking at a bit more downtime, likely 2 to 4 hours. Again, happening overnight on a weekend when traffic is the lowest.  What if that doesn’t work? Well then we migrate the stores one at time using the websitepanel backup and restore feature. Each store would be manually migrated from one server environment to another server environment. This would be much more time intensive and not an all at one time transfer.

#5) Do I have to move?

Yes. Freestyle is ceasing operation of the storefront hosting once we’ve successfully migrated all stores and servers to our new environment.


That didn’t answer my questions about the migration.

Well, that’s definitely likely. This post is really the initial post regarding the process. As we progress along with our testing and get closer to a successful migration, I’ll provide more detailed information and firm dates. I can share that we’re targeting to be completely migrated by June 15th currently but it all depends on how smoothly the testing goes. It could happen before that and it could happen after that. We will definitely give you ample notice before the migration. If you have a question that wasn’t answered here though feel free to email support@storefront.net or use the contact form.


Awesome Commerce delivers the Internet's leading online shopping site software platform. Our storefront delivers a wide range of premium features with unmatched ease and performance.

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