Keys to a Successful Data Center Migration

Posted by Instor on Aug 8, 2017 6:47:00 AM

New data centers are becoming living, breathing, efficient, and more efficient compared to those built previously. Gone are the massive redundancies and facilities because developers are more confident in forecasting the needs for existing and future customer requirements, space and energy.


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Today, there are more intelligent and sophisticated analytical tools being deployed including machine learning and artificial intelligence all in an effort to improve capacity planning, use, and efficiency – data centers are less likely to exceed investments for more data server space than previously.

According to a Jones Lang LaSalle Data Center Outlook report published in 2016, there are three main market drivers: cloud technology demand; evolving data sovereignty laws, and growing server sophistication and resource planning by industry leaders. This is further affirmed by IDC reports that by 2018, more than 85 percent of enterprise IT organizations will commit to multicloud architecture – the potential for spending into 2020 includes traditional as well as public cloud apps, tools for development and deployment, and infrastructure (e.g., storage, servers, and software).

Companies may be forced to initiate a data center migration because other options are cost-prohibitive due to advancements in technology, increase space needs, and is due to growth. Capital expenses (CapEx) will drive to zero, overlapping cost is predictable and must be budgeted, and operating expenses (OpEx) will increase significantly then fall back to budgeted levels. A high-level, notional migration process may include:

  • Discover, assess, and prioritize apps
  • Rehosting
  • Replatforming
  • Repurchasing
  • Refactoring

There may be different reasons to consider for data center migration. Companies may need to relocate their DC for any number of reasons – tax advantages, energy cost-savings, security, infrastructure improvements including latency and bandwidth, space limitations, economic considerations, mergers and acquisitions, consolidation, geophysical advantages, and regulatory compliance. For example, the U.S. Government has found cost-savings in accordance with regulatory and policy compliance regarding Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), virtualization, and energy metering to name a few.

Migrations are complex and risky and, if not properly planned, staffed, resourced and adequately managed, could cause more problems than they fix but outsourcing the migration effort is still preferred. The industry consensus is that it all must start with a thorough inventory and data center migrations are painful regardless. During migration and relocation, opportunities exist to take advantage of technology upgrades and overall improvements.  

According to Gartner, fifty percent of all migrations will exceed budget, migration windows, and can expect unexpected business disruptions. Sixty percent of companies reported delays in migration after planning but discovered that migration cost was one of the least cited issues according to Garnet, IDC, and 451 Research. 

The migration project should minimize impact and one way to accomplish this is to concurrently continue to maintain daily operations while building and constructing the new data center. At some point there will be a PM decision point to ‘cutover’ to the new data center and decommission the old.

Here are keys to a successful data center migration:

  • Initiate migration planning and program management – determine leadership and support roles including resources that will be required
  • Inform – partner, coordinate, and inform business customers of plans and impact
  • Define strategic migration organizational goals – include project phases and major milestones, schedule, and budget
  • Requirements – identify measurable and quantifiable criteria; identify mission critical data and services, priorities, sensitivity, privacy, encryption, regulatory requirements, etc.
  • Inventory – all components including dependencies
  • Planning – identify skills, personnel, leaders, resources, roles/responsibilities, and scheduling/work breakdown schedule (WBS)
  • Risk and mitigation strategies – operational, technical, business, tactical, customer/mission critical impact, load balancers, and failovers
  • Baseline assessment – operational including physical space, security, HVAC, servers, apps, backend servers/services, databases, data, UPS and backup power, etc.
  • Additional assessments:
    • Infrastructure Assessment
      • Define each “U” for each device
      • Identify what is in each cabinet
      • Map out all network and infrastructure
    • Security assessment and requirements
  • New technologies – replacement and upgrade
  • Design – perform layout, placement, cable/conduit routing, raised flooring, etc.
    • Utilize BIM and layout out plans (3D physical spatial, electrical/UPS/backup resources/energy management, HVAC, lighting, security, cabling, cabinet/rack emplacement, air flow/computational fluid dynamics (CFD), raised flooring, etc.)
    • Identify the respective model(s): essential characteristics, service models, deployment models
    • Leverage automation and process tools
  • Test – verification and validation
  • Cutover to new Data Center – decommission of old Data Center
  • Documentation and configuration management
  • Project closeout


Considering a data center migration? Talk to the data center experts at Instor Solutions before making your next move.

Topics: Migration