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One only moves a data platform once

More than three years ago, we chose to move our platform to a new datacenter. Our demands and those of our customers had become higher than our old platform could handle. Something had to change structurally to be able to meet the highest current requirements.

We realize that such a data platform move is a time-consuming, complicated, and risky, presenting a high impact on our core business and that of our customers. Our platform consists of twenty years of product and order data for all our customer and links with all the data processes we have built over the years. Such a move is exciting for a company like Onetrail, where everything is about data. So a relaxed relocation was not possible, but we started on time with a dedicated team of employees. The atmosphere in the operations and development teams were both thoughtful and focused, and big vacations were postponed.

Preparation and testing
During the preparation, we looked critically at the efficiency of the platform, determined what could be improved, and examined our security. We established a new server structure, extensively tested it, and guided our customers in adjusting their systems.

The weekend of the move
At the end of May, we completed the final preparatory work and had a go for the actual move. Of course, we had planned this at a quiet moment, so the business suffered as little as possible.

On Saturday of June 29th at 8:00 am, we shut down all our systems to carry out the actual move. Every team member knew his job. At the end of the weekend, somewhat delayed but well in time for the Monday morning deadline at 6:00 AM, everything seemed to have moved well. On Sunday morning, all data was on the new platform, and all messages could be processed. We started the processing in our new data center and monitored the progress accuracy and remained alert because such a first success did not mean we were there yet.

Moreover, that became clear when the message server crashed on Monday afternoon. Our team started immediately with a setback. Later that evening, everything worked again. That week the operations team continued to monitor the systems with extra attention, and fortunately, no unexpected circumstances occurred. We succeeded, our platform had moved!

“Staying there and not daring to dream of new possibilities is something that you will continue to haunt for much longer.”


What is the difference?
With the new platform, all data processing, both product data and order data, has become faster and more reliable. All in-bound services are 24/7 high available when our customers use HA endpoints. With this, the incoming data flow never has to stop, and messages can always be delivered to us. New user accounts have also increased the security levels with strong passwords and an SSL level A and TLS 1.2 security protocol.

The location is not the only change
Often, moving coincides with other significant changes, such as getting married or starting a new job. With this move, we have created new possibilities for data monitoring; something we previously had little focus on, but which we will develop further soon.

We built the new IT environment in such a way that we record all log files in Elastic. Elastic is a search engine with which we make a database of all data that goes through the Trading Partner Network. Linked to this is the Kibana dashboard tool with which you can visualize all data. We start with the construction of a performance dashboard of the Trading Partner Network for ourselves. This new dashboard allows us to monitor our platform and visualize performance. After that, we will develop additional panels that will provide our customers with real-time insight into their own data stream. For example, we can make the average processing time of an order visible, and another idea is to measure the reliability of delivery. With the new platform, we created all the possibilities we will expand together with our customers.

Proud of our stable, robust and future-proof platform
Packing and moving a platform is a hell of a job. Fortunately, it is only a temporary inconvenience. Staying there and not daring to dream of new possibilities is something that you will continue to haunt for much longer. We are pleased that we have taken this step and have created a stable, robust, and future-proof platform that makes us prepared for the future.

Cor Zijlstra
Chief Technology Officer

Cor Zijlstra
CTO & Product Manager