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Computer and Electronics Logistics: Planning Your Tech Relocation
Infrastructure Logistics: Planning Your Data Center Migration

Computer and Electronics Logistics: Planning Your Tech Relocation
Infrastructure Logistics: Planning Your Data Center Migration

by Nationalcws.com on Thursday, May 02, 2019 14:00

We have outlined how to plan your data center migration and office infrastructure in 2019! Stop researching and start learning today!

88% of global enterprises are in the early stages of consolidating servers or moving their data centers, according to a report published for Commercial Payments International (CPI). Enterprises that do so enjoy reduced IT costs. They also enjoy improved business continuity, optimized operations and enhanced cybersecurity.

Many businesses are looking to merge or move their IT equipment or data centers. In some cases, enterprises are moving their data centers to comply with federal regulations. Despite the reason, they ensure continuity of business by following data center migration best practices.

Although many enterprises start the migration process, most firms hesitate to follow through. Often, business leaders are concerned about how the move will affect operations. If this is your position, you need a well-thought-out data center migration project plan. With it, you can successfully migrate or merge any data center.

Keeping the Gears Turning During Data Center Migration

Continuity is a top concern when migrating your data center. In a perfect world, you’d close on Friday. Then, you'd move everything over the weekend and have everything up and running again by Monday.

In reality, data migrations don't happen that fast. A data center move could include hundreds to thousands of servers and other hardware. Resultantly, a significant data center move can take weeks, months and even years.

A data center move is a complex project. During the undertaking, operations will straddle resources from the old and new center.

Throughout the transition, IT leaders are faced with pressing questions. Executives must evaluate what happens when interdependent systems are no longer located in the same data center. They must figure out what servers must remain together during the move.

Also, they must decide precisely when to move critical infrastructure servers. In some cases, IT managers must choose to replicate servers to help with the move. Finally, there is the unpredictability of how the network will perform once it’s relocated.

The Importance of Planning

Today, many enterprises cannot function without a completely operational IT infrastructure. In turn, the network infrastructure is dependent on the facility in which it is housed. The relationships between the physical structure, geography and the network are subtle but sophisticated.

Data center migrations highlight the importance of this relationship. This challenge is present whether you're consolidating many small local data centers into a large regional center or moving a large centralized one to a new site.

IT managers must consider the impact on transaction response time due to relocation. The geographic distance between clients and servers can dramatically affect network latency.

This effect is especially prominent for data center consolidations, where wide area network (WAN) traffic surges as more users access the network remotely.

Estimating latency is more involved than measuring the change in a single application. The performance of one application does not indicate overall performance. It could vary based on many factors including:

  • Application object download timing
  • Resource fetching methods
  • The location and distribution of application code and data
  • The number of exchanges between the client and server (turns/ chattiness)
  • Synchronization and congestion due to blocking turns (parallel turns)
  • Server configuration and protocol (TCP buffer size, timeout settings)

These factors can each make small contributions to network latency, but create an enormous impact on performance.

Planning for the Move

IT leaders must assess the current data center state to prepare for a migration. Before the move, they must have a complete understanding of the current operating environment.

Duly, IT project managers will assess what hardware is now in use to support workflows. During this assessment, the manager will evaluate what equipment is obsolete.

Also, they will determine the dependencies for each application and workflow. With this information, the manager can assess needs for the new location.

Now, the IT project manager can start to figure out how the move will impact the business. In part, they will assess how the move will present an opportunity for improvement. With this in mind, the IT manager will determine where to house applications based on your organization's needs and the scope of the project.

This forward look at your company’s needs establishes a benchmark for the migration process. Forecasting future data center needs enables IT leaders to prevent migration barriers.

With a firm grasp of the current state of your data center and the desired outcome of the migration, the IT manager can start to develop a plan for the move. The project begins with an assessment of how easy or difficult it is to migrate applications to the desired end state.

Now, the IT manager can develop a full migration plan. They will assess what tools are required for the move. Also, the manager will determine the network dependency of applications. This information will establish key performance indicators (KPIs). With this information, they can assess progress during the migration.

Cover All the Bases with a Data Center Move Project Plan

A data center migration checklist helps IT managers remember many essential tasks during the move. A few of the functions that you should track are:

  • Choosing a data center migration manager who can work across business units
  • Developing a relocation plan, including the budget, timeline and desired outcomes
  • Identifying and engaging all workflows and stakeholders affected by the migration
  • Obtaining cooperation from all stakeholders
  • Assessing who owns the equipment
  • Completing a network connectivity inventory
  • Completing an inventory of all applications
  • Completing the hardware inventory
  • Decommissioning obsolete equipment and applications
  • Determining the best way to inventory assets (manually or with software)
  • Deciding what to include in the move
  • Inventorying and categorizing undocumented hardware, cabling and applications
  • Creating a DCIM virtual layout and connectivity plan
  • Determining the placement of new equipment
  • Ensuring that the new location meets the power capacity for deployment as well as future needs
  • Modeling the network design in the source of truth (SSOT)
  • Planning the right cable lengths for all power and data connections
  • Recording the network design with the engineering team
  • Reviewing the floor plan of the new site

Communicating with Stakeholders

The data center migration manager must convey information about the move to all stakeholders. Even this, however, requires a plan.

Six Months Before the Move

The migration manager will identify all internal stakeholders, develop a budget and build a list of equipment.

Three Months Before the Move

The data center migration manager will choose a project team lead. They'll decide what internal and external resources are needed for the project. Also, they will select and schedule dates for all activities.

Next, the migration manager will identify all wide area network (WAN) circuits and owners. Also, the manager will validate the current users and decide whether to move the circuits or shut them off.

The manager will also assess the server power and rack requirements for the new location. They will note any new equipment that needs excess lead time as well as any that has special requirements for the new site.

Two Months Before the Move

The data center migration manager will decide what equipment needs installation and uninstallation. In the case of physical hardware, the manager will decide on equipment specifications for the new location.

Specifications may include outlet types, voltage and amperage requirements, and USB device allocation. The migration manager will then confirm that the equipment is ordered for the new location. They will also run a relocation test to assess the outcome of the migration.

Six to Three Weeks Before the Move

The data center migration manager will order new network and power distribution units for the server racks as well as for receptacle outlets. It will also identify the equipment cables that are needed for the new location.

Also, they will confirm the correct connectors for new equipment. During this phase, the manager will hold weekly calls with stakeholders. They will also confirm all moving equipment, such as trucks and lifts.

As the move date approaches, the manager will freeze the IT environment. At this point, IT administrators cannot make changes without the approval of the chief information officer (CIO). Also, the manager will confirm all web portal users.

Two Weeks Before the Move

Now, the data center migration manager will assess whether the network circuits are working. They will move and test development systems for use in the migration. The migration manager will also test out the new network.

The data center migration manager will update all documents and scripts before the move. They will also review special coding.

The migration manager will confirm all staff members and make sure that all stakeholders know their role in the migration. The manager will then label equipment for the move.

For instance, they may use hangtags to designate what equipment to power down before the move and where gear goes in the new location. At the end of the week before the move, the data center migration manager will shut down all business operations at the end of the day.

Just a few days before the move, the manager will double check that all cabling and equipment are on-site and functional.

They will also list all equipment that needs to move. Finally, the data center migration manager will make sure that the new network has enough resources to support enterprise operations.

Spinning Back up

Now that the network is officially in its new location. The data center migration manager will confirm that everything is functioning thoroughly. They will also make sure that no resources are needed from the old site.

After doing so, the manager will shut off all power and network centers at the old location. They will inventory the remaining equipment. Also, they will confirm that all assets have been moved as planned.

A couple of days after the move, the data center migration manager will return all leased equipment. Finally, the manager will update all documentation to comply with regulations and organizational policies. Also, they will validate that all hazardous-waste and hardware containing sensitive data is disposed of properly.

If there’s equipment at the old location that will remain there intact, the migration manager will oversee the cleanup of the facility. They will also monitor the shutdown of all equipment. In addition, they will cancel any existing contracts for that location.

If the plan is to dismantle the old location completely, the data center migration manager will oversee the project. Finally, the manager will employ a cleaning crew to clean out the old data center.

Wrapping up Your Data Center Migration Plan

A data center migration is a complex undertaking. Without careful planning, many things could go wrong.

Any issues that arise during the migration could undermine operations and threaten the reputation of your brand.

A successful data center migration requires teamwork. The outcome of migration is dependent on the many subtle interactions between networks, servers and programs.

Some organizations fail to plan their data mining migration effectively. They're typically left wondering what went wrong and how to fix problems.

If you’re planning to consolidate or move your data center, you can minimize risks with a comprehensive plan. By following data center migration best practices, running simulations and testing well ahead of the move, you can add predictability to an uncertain undertaking.

These precautions will ensure that your network will support business operations as it migrates from one location to the next. Moreover, a careful and structured approach to data center migration will reduce costs.

You’ll also avoid unexpected delays and promote the best possible moving experience for all stakeholders.

Doing It Right the First Time

If you’re like many United States enterprises, your data center is the lifeblood of your business. Check out our article about data center management to learn more about IT operations.

Are you planning a data center migration or consolidation? If so, contact National Computer Warehouse Services today for a free project quote. We can help you do your move right from the very start!

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