Questions to Ask When Planning a Data Center Relocation
Data center relocations are inherently risky—possibly compromising data, systems operation, revenue, uptime, and any number of problems. That’s why working with experienced IT consultants is extremely important. We’ve managed many data center relocations over our 30+ years in business and we’ve seen and experienced any number of contingencies that some organizations may never consider.
Before starting a data center relocation, ask yourself these important questions:
1. What’s the current infrastructure inventory of your data center? You need a thorough review and survey of your current data center to include an exhaustive inventory of your software and hardware, servers, and storage and networking equipment. You should also interview key data center management personnel and line-of-business management to identify key business and technical requirements.
A thorough inventory will help determine the key services your data center provides, and it will allow you to establish and analyze business priorities, and planning and budgeting constraints of your data center relocation. You’ll want to compile your findings into your inventory for a comprehensive source of data center information that’s readily available for future analysis and reference.
2. What’s the data center relocation impact on your business? 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.
Application mapping, or AppMap as we call it, is an ASG Consulting Services engagement that identifies, documents, and analyzes critical business services and applications—as well as their infrastructure dependencies—and then systemically evaluates them against your business requirements. Armed with this data, you can then begin to architect several migration options and select the comprehensive solution that best addresses your business and technical requirements.
3. Have you conducted an in-depth risk analysis? Armed with a migration plan, you now need to assemble all previously collected data and documentation into an inclusive Data Center Migration Plan that includes an in-depth risk analysis. Consider floor layouts and rack diagrams, outline the exact tasks needed to complete the relocation, and chart the migration priorities. No doubt your data center contains complex interdependencies between business-critical applications and assets, so you need to include detailed dependency mappings of your data center as part of your risk analysis.
A comprehensive, up-front planning and risk analysis will help you ensure minimized downtime and disruption so you can keep your business running smoothly without endangering your business-critical data and applications.
The answers to these questions provide much of the information you need to conduct a data center relocation. When you’re ready, be sure to factor in existing plans with your current facility and installation plans with your target facility to help make your transition smooth and efficient.