A data center relocation or migration can be a daunting task for even the most skilled IT team, but much of the fear can be allayed with a methodical process and proper planning. We’ve been fortunate to have 30 years of experience as a leading provider of enterprise IT infrastructure solutions and consulting services, providing a variety of data center relocation and migration needs.
We’ve leveraged our experience to create the ASG Structured Data Collection Methodology, which isolates and compartmentalizes data sets, minimizes known variables, and arranges potential back-out points. As we’ve said before, computing environments today are less about the hardware than the services they provide. Once you understand those services and the benefits they deliver to the business, you get a better understanding of how the hardware infrastructure should support those services.
Before diving into the complete relocation implementation, review these steps for effectively relocating or migrating data centers without endangering business-critical data and applications:
1. Discovery and Design – Because your data center is essential to the success of your enterprise, you should begin with a comprehensive review and survey of your data center. This preliminary survey includes an exhaustive inventory of your software and hardware, servers, and storage and networking equipment. You should also schedule kick-off meetings and interview key personnel in your company to fully identify both your technical and business requirements.
Once you determine the key services your data center provides, you need to establish and analyze the business priorities, planning, and budgeting constraints of your data center relocation. To complete this phase, you’ll need to compile your findings into a comprehensive source of your data center information, that’s thoroughly documented and archived for future analysis and reference.
2. Analysis and Design – Every data center move presents risks, and any interruption to your business could ultimately affect your bottom line. Accordingly, you should thoroughly analyze and document the impact on your business. At this stage, you’ll analyze the information you collected to prioritize business services, establish downtime—if necessary—and determine the hardware, application, and technology requirements for a non-disruptive move. You should also define and analyze potential risks and prepare contingency plans to mitigate possible problems.
Then you’ll want to architect several migration options, and then select the comprehensive solution that best addresses your particular business and technical requirements.
3. Planning and Risk Management – Once you’ve selected a migration plan, you should assemble all previously collected data and documentation into an inclusive Data Center Migration plan, complete with an in-depth risk analysis.
This plan encompasses floor layouts and rack diagrams, outlines the exact tasks to complete the relocation, and charts the matrix of the migration priorities. And because your data system likely contains complex interdependencies between your business-critical applications and assets, you’ll need to provide detailed dependency mappings of your data center.
This comprehensive up-front planning and risk management ultimately ensures minimized risk and downtime so you can keep your business running smoothly without endangering your business-critical data and applications.
Lastly, you’ll apply the comprehensive plan to relocate your data center and successfully implement the move. You’ll need to manage exit plans with your current facility and the installation plan with the target facility—making the transition as smooth as possible.