Commercial Moving

Navigating the Complexities of Data Center Migration: Tips from Industry Experts

Efficient and effective data center relocation

Has the moment finally arrived for your organization’s data center relocation? Whether driven by a merger, organizational expansion, regulatory requirements, or a physical move from one location to another, the need to relocate a data center can be a daunting prospect. It is a process that requires systematic planning and careful execution. The best place to start is with a comprehensive review of the most effective data center migration strategies.

What is a data center migration?

A data center migration, or relocation, is the process of moving or transferring an existing data center environment to a new site, facility, or IT infrastructure. The move can involve select assets or an entire data center. Whatever scope or format data center migrations take, successful transition begins with a discovery and planning phase. Assemble a team of cross-departmental stakeholders and consider:

  • What exactly needs to be migrated: devices and applications across the entire organization or only specific assets?
  • Will the new facility or infrastructure meet or exceed expected future requirements?
  • What is the budget and timeline for the data center move?
  • Do we have the necessary resources to complete the migration? Is help needed from an outside organization?
  • What is our network backup strategy and do we have an effective disaster recovery plan in place?
  • How can we best manage staff schedules and workflows to ensure minimal impact to business operations throughout each of the necessary data center migration steps?

Throughout this early phase, caution and scrutiny are essential. The most common, and costly, mistake is to inaccurately evaluate data devices and their associated applications, resulting in system downtimes and business disruptions that can derail budgets and operations well beyond the relocation process.

Data center migration checklist

data center migration in progressAs with any physical move, the most successful relocating data center process will be the result of careful preparation: a detailed project plan, clear communication of requirements, and the right resources to complete each step. If the migration requires transporting fragile hardware, or is particularly complex in its scope, it may be most effective to utilize an experienced and skilled external team.

The select team, whether internal or external, should be well-versed in the particulars of a data center move, including a firm understanding of the need for each device to be tested for points of failure and data backed up before any equipment is moved or handled. It must have the ability to secure all devices and data while in transit, with steps taken to minimize the risk of damage, loss, or theft. And it should ensure the unpacking and reinstallation of all equipment at the new location will support a quick and efficient restart of system setups to minimize disruptions.

Review this checklist to determine your organization’s readiness and begin crafting the data center migration strategy that’s right for you:

  • Create a thorough data center relocation plan. Account for all physical elements needed to move your data center.
  • Complete a detailed inventory of all hardware, applications, and components that will be relocated. Documentation should include equipment model and serial numbers, configurations, replacement value, and diagrams of each system’s deinstallation/ reinstallation plan.
  • Establish a manageable budget that adequately covers renovation, any new construction, equipment replacement or expansion, site closure, staffing, and outside expertise from data center relocation specialists.
  • Evaluate your backup strategy. Test backups to minimize risk, establish a recovery plan, and build in allowances for downtime of servers, storage, and network equipment.
  • Prepare for validation, before and after migration. Review compliance regulations in your industry and ensure they are met with any new devices, network connections, storage systems, or security measures.
  • Establish and enforce security measures to guard against network vulnerability to data theft when firewalls are down. Include a plan for tracking equipment and accounting for staff whereabouts to protect against undue access to equipment during the relocation.

Data center migration is a critical phase for any organization. It is also an exciting one, as it indicates a new threshold of growth through improved productivity, efficiency, agility, and scalability. The right planning and the right partnership for achieving an efficient, effective transition make for an empowering step forward in infrastructure and opportunity.