Data Center Migration: Tips for Doing It Right

Many factors put pressure on an existing Data Center that may require a move to a new location.  However, moving a Data Center is a daunting task— evaluating destination options, identifying time and cost of a move, planning and testing processes and equipment, and then actually moving hardware, data and applications. With Data Center operations representing a quarter of total IT costs in many organizations, it is critical to approach the idea of a move carefully. A Data Center move can be a daunting task, but by implementing best practices, IT teams can minimize downtime and ensure a smooth migration.

Faced with outdated infrastructure (power and cooling capabilities as well as physical space) that does not align with current computing needs, caused by transitions to hyperscale computing and increased rack densities, Data Center operators are left with difficult decisions. Some organizations deal with these limitations through colocation or use of the public cloud. Others do not, or cannot, make that move—the Uptime Institute Global 2020 Data Center Survey shows that 52% of organizations have no plan to move mission-critical workloads to the public cloud.

Planning a move

The first decision to make is whether to build a new Data Center or lease space. Building your own space provides the most flexibility but is also expensive and requires expertise typically outside the core competencies of a Data Center manager: design, construction, real estate, security and maintenance.

Leasing provides space with a lower cost to entry, since it doesn’t require construction or design, and the landlord provides maintenance and security. Yet it can be a risk as you are dealing with a third-party and terms of lease agreements and thus have less control.

Factors to consider in a new space, whether you lease, build or buy:

  • Suitability of the site geographically
  • Infrastructure—power loads, communications networks, cooling systems
  • Capacity—physical space for servers and storage
  • Maintenance—what are the requirements and how will equipment be maintained

The key to moving your mission-critical Data Center is to plan in advance:

  • Benchmark applications and existing service levels to ensure the setup is correct in the new location
  • Understand processes and dependencies to ensure you move equipment in the right order
  • Ensure backups were recently performed and are working
  • Determine if you can withstand downtime during the move and how much
  • Review contracts and agreements, such as vendor, maintenance, warranties, and insurance policies to know how they will be impacted by a move
  • Create a very specific plan for moving day—action by action, minute by minute, from shut down in the old location to turning on your servers in the new Data Center

We have helped hundreds of Data Centers make the move when they needed to update their space or expand capacity. Our experts here at Data Specialties Inc. know the steps to ensure a successful move—from planning and understanding the pros and cons to turning on the lights in your Data Center’s new home on moving day. We can help at any stage of the process. Give us a call today and we can help you make the move with the least impact to your operations and budget. Contact DSI