Avaya’s Integration Challenge

In December 2009, Avaya Inc. acquired the Enterprise Business division of Nortel Networks, which had filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy earlier that year. Avaya was one of several buyers for various portions of the company. The mission for the Avaya IT organization was to solve the complex issue of extracting relevant data from shared systems while meeting the systems integration challenges inherent to any large acquisition.

As a first step in the acquisition process, Avaya contracted a Transition Services Agreement (TSA) with Nortel requesting them  to administer the IT systems that ran the acquired business. These systems were spread across five data centers and comprised 47 applications, among which four SAP landscapes supported annual revenue estimated at $1.4 billion. Approximately three-quarters of these applications were sharing data owned by buyers of other Nortel business units. The systems which then belonged to Avaya could not be accessed and migrated by Avaya IT personnel prior to undergoing custom data cleansing to eliminate master as well as transactional data.

As the costly TSA evolved, the number one objective rapidly became to end it as soon as possible. The Nortel hardware was shared across multiple buyers and could not be physically moved. With time of the essence, a decision was made to replicate the hardware configurations found at Nortel in the Avaya Global Data Center. Hence, the project got its name: “Clone.”

The high-risk, “Big Bang” migration was the only option for bringing Avaya applications and data over, since the acquired landscape was highly interfaced and wouldn’t allow for a phased approach.  Indeed, it was not possible to move a few cleansed applications at a time to the Avaya data center and keep them interfaced with others that were not, due to the likelihood of non-Avaya data coming into the Avaya system and breach data privacy and legal requirements.

Finally, given the unusual nature and magnitude of the combined IT divestiture-acquisition, the IT organization was allowed 96 hours to migrate the environment. Although exceptional, even a 96-hour window still looked way too small to take 30 Terabytes of live data through intensive database record-level data cleansing and simultaneously conduct two consecutive data center migrations.

The Solution

The Clean Room – the term used by project staff for the specially-built, temporary data center – provided a “no-man’s land” where Nortel representatives could develop, test and execute custom code to remove non-Avaya data. Once done, they would hand the environment over to Avaya IT. 

Cut-Over Process

The cut-over process was executed in three stages: First, the data was migrated from the five Nortel data centers to the Clean Room; the second stage cleansed the data, and finally, the Avaya-only data was migrated from the Clean Room to the Avaya corporate data center.