Man at whiteboard with back to camera

BMJ Tech – The invisible change

Here in Operations we are proud to be able to say “nobody notices us”.

We have thus far migrated On Examination from Cardiff and informatica from Leatherhead in to our Hemel Hempstead data centre – with no downtime.

We are now embarking on an exercise to migrate all our various hosting environments into one managed data centre. With this project we are also reshaping the infrastructure to be more Service Oriented. So, rather than having a shared set of ten web servers, in which BMJ Learning have three images, we will have three dedicated web servers for BMJ Learning. Likewise, the database backends and any other business logic servers – thus creating an “application” that is a group of servers providing all the tools required to serve a site.

Also each new server will have been built by configuration management, so can be recreated/duplicated as a base box at any time, the web content coming from Jenkins, and the Point In Time Recovery database restore from Amazon S3 cloud storage.

This will provide us with a complete Disaster Recovery platform, and also a means to deploy any site remotely.

We have also taken this as an opportunity to migrate away from Oracle in to PostgreSQL. Admittedly this required coding changes, but Development rallied to the challenge successfully. The most complicated Oracle to PostgreSQL transfer was with ICS (our internal authorisation and authentication system), which, I fear, was noticed the first time through, though the second time the migration was performed, no user actually noticed.

So though BMJ Technology may be a black box that appear to be doing nothing, as the products hardly change, there is a load of activity in the department, busily making our services more robust, responsive, and maintainable.