A Comprehensive Checklist for a Successful Data Center Migration

11 Feb 2021 by Michael Kriech

Change is inevitable. It doesn’t matter the business or industry. Enterprises embark on transitions that require them to transfer a massive volume of data at a given time. Specific changes, including mergers, acquisition of new employees, or projects, require speed, agility, and unparalleled performance. No matter the magnitude, it is imperative that data migration disrupts daily operations as little as possible. 

To ensure this, it’s essential that you have a well thought out data center migration plan. Restructuring the conventional data center can help businesses address their shortcomings and deliver accordingly. As a company grows over time, it is integral to prioritize minimizing risks of outages and failure to comply with all business needs. With that in mind, here is the checklist that you need to make data center migration a success.

Preparing for the Data Center Migration

As with any venture in life, it is always best to come prepared. Coming up with a sound plan allows businesses to track their progress and manage their expectations. Before the data center migration, enterprises should have everything planned. They should be able to grasp the idea of the things that are involved in the move. It would be best to prepare an inventory of all of the data center migration activities that are necessary in order to get a full picture of what’s needed. Most businesses prioritize the IT equipment that provides the most value to the organization. To help with your decision, make sure that you get answers to the following questions right up front:

  • Is this application relevant to the existing and future projects of the organization?
  • If yes, what are the configurations that come along with these items for them to function efficiently?
  • How much downtime can be caused by having this special equipment in transit?
  • What are the steps taken to minimize the operational distractions caused by data center migration?

It is important to note that every application and piece of equipment in the data center has a different purpose and use. For this reason, it is imperative to have everything labeled and segregated accordingly. After documenting all of the things within the data center to be migrated, you can take the next steps. You’ll want to list all the factors that can help your business determine the relevance of specific applications and equipment in the data center. These factors include identifying the following:

  • Application Owners
  • Possible dates for upgrades and changes
  • Allowable Downtime
  • Server, network, storage, and operating system requirements
  • Power specifications
  • Connectivity (cabling) diagrams
  • Rack layout

Besides the physical aspect of any data center, it is integral that you evaluate other factors before the migration. Prioritizing the workforce, business objectives, and risk assessments can help you accelerate the migration process. To help you create a sound data center migration plan, make sure to consider the following questions as well:

  • Is your workforce large enough to support the data center migration?
  • What role does this transition play going forward with your business goals?
  • What are the risks of facilitating data center migration, and how would you mitigate them?

Formulating a Detailed Plan of the Process

Preparing a detailed plan of the process is imperative to data center migration. This plan allows you to prepare your strategy and backup plan throughout the process. Although the method used depends on your company’s resources and needs, the key to a sound plan is a full understanding of your environment. Assemble a trusted team that can contribute to making data center migration seamless and successful. Consulting with an expert regarding your data center migration solution is highly suggested to spot check yourself and ensure that you’ve left no stone unturned in the planning process. This also ensures that you’re partnering with the ideal provider for your datacenter needs. 

Data Center Migration Steps

Data Center migrations can get overwhelming, especially with a large volume of data involved. It is integral that organizations prepare adequately, from the equipment for the move, the schedule, and the transit items. Consider the following practices that can help you succeed in the end.

Start with a Sound Plan

Any project would go smoothly with a sound plan. Whether you plan on consolidating data, move equipment, or haul office supplies to a new office, make sure that everything gets prepared beforehand. The first thing that you need to do is to guarantee a seamless equipment migration. Otherwise, a single piece of equipment that breaks while in transit can compromise crucial business data. Ensure that you are in contact with a reputable service provider that provides insurance options for valuable transactions. Some companies also have sufficient resources to perform the data migration themselves. Although this can be cost-effective, the organization must ensure that the movers have enough knowledge to handle IT equipment. Now that you have found a reliable mover, you should create a comprehensive plan on how the migration should occur. 

Depending on your preference, needs, and budget, you can have items transferred all at once or in batches. While getting all your equipment settled right away seems practical, the latter gives you the chance to see how the workplace rolls with limited items at hand. Transferring your stock in batches provides businesses the opportunity to minimize as much downtime as possible.If you plan to move forward to a whole new space, you could use this opportunity to settle existing contracts. Take this opportunity to finally get rid of that deceptive vendor and explore plenty of options that provide a better deal. It is vital to check in with your hardware and software providers to determine if they would be willing to carry out their services despite the distance. More often than not, more complications can arise if service providers are far away.

Review the Data Center Environment by Creating a Comprehensive Inventory

Before preparing everything for the move, make sure to document all of the equipment for inventory. Get all machinery pieces logged onto the list before they are unplugged and taken down to the loading dock. Before you pull out the system logs, jot down the active workloads, scheduled backups, and utilize software applications to avoid being behind essential tasks. Creating a comprehensive inventory allows you to discover the items that you need to discard and keep. Check up on items that can have their warranty affected when transferred to a different location.Organizations must inform their customers of the migration that would take place. They should know where the new location is to determine where to go when necessary. Plus, products and services that require licensing need to get settled before proceeding with the operations to the new location.

Form a Team to Facilitate the Data Center Migration

The team involved in data center migration comprises physical movers, digital teams, and managers that oversee the entire process. They will be the ones who will settle the date for when the migration takes place. Ideally, it is imperative to schedule the transfer on days that will not affect pivotal business decisions. For instance, it is integral to set aside this venture during product launches, crucial projects, and peak business seasons. The team should look for the ideal time when the business can still operate as usual. Once the date is all set, they can determine the plans for the data center migration. The migrations should not have a significant impact on the business from the backup plans, installation, and IT equipment testing.They should also organize all of the items needed to move. To keep things organized, make sure that all of the containers are labeled accordingly. You must keep cables and cords near the devices they connect to all the time. Labeling them according to the room they are designated for prevents any confusion during installation. Most data centers divide across different floors, so it is imperative to systematically arrange all of the items.Moreover, the team should establish a trusted security team that can be of assistance throughout the process. This team inspires confidence that the business will get all the equipment and confidential data transmitted safely and soundly. Keeping an eye on security logs can help the unit monitor the migration to ensure that none of the items are compromised. It would also be vital to carry out excessive security parameters to prevent unauthorized access to data.

What Comes Next After a Successful Data Migration?

Following the successful data center migration, it is imperative to make sure that everything gets tested. Using your inventory for reference, you can check all of the items involved in the process. Make sure that everything is in place and running correctly.You could say that the data center migration is a success if everything works smoothly and nothing went misplaced. Another critical factor that determines the success of the project is whether the items arrived according to schedule. Reviewing this initiative’s results can help the team reflect on what went wrong and the things they need to improve.


Author

Michael Kriech

Michael brings twenty-three plus years of IT and telecommunications experience to Datacenters.com. With a wide range of expertise, Michael assists his clients in determining the best solutions needed for their technology roadmap. As information technology infrastructure evolves, Michael continues to suggest and present comprehensive, stable, and scalable solutions. This helps clients take advantage of the best and latest technologies that support company objectives while freeing up time to concentrate on core competencies. With a passion for helping organizations meet their goals, Michael is willing to go the extra mile to support his clients. A Navy Veteran and proud husband and father, Michael and his wife (Jessica) spend their spare time raising puppies as a volunteer for Canine Companion for Independence (CCI).

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