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Decommissioning a Data Center? 3 Things You Need to Do to Prepare

Decommissioning a Data Center? 3 Things You Need to Do to Prepare

by Stephanie Faris on Monday, August 14, 2017 11:00

Initially, the prospect of decommissioning a data center can seem overwhelming. First there are numerous racks, each filled with servers and peripherals. Then there are concerns about downtime, since people likely rely on the applications and files stored on those servers. Lastly, businesses are concerned about security, since out-of-service computers can house sensitive data that can be disastrous in the wrong hands.

Any large-scale project needs careful planning. Decommissioning is one of the most sizable undertakings a business will experienced, so planning is a must. As far in advance as possible, take measures to do the following three things to prepare for your upcoming project. This will help you avoid surprises and get back to work as quickly as possible once the data center is officially offline.

Take an Inventory

Before you can make plans to offload your equipment, racks, cabling, and other items, it’s important to first take full stock of what you have. Go through your server room and note every item that will need to go, adding a count for each of them. This list will help you throughout the project, since you’ll likely be asked multiple times to quantify the items for disposal. If some items will be relocated and others will be destroyed, keep them on separate lists, since they’ll likely be treated separately as your server room is broken down.

Plan for Downtime

Whatever the reason for your decommissioning project, at one time your data center housed important applications and files. If you’ve moved everything to a cloud-based service, you’ll still need to ensure everything has been transferred before you take everything offline. There may be a stray file or application you don’t even realize people are still using until you shut its parent server down. If you will be moving data to another server, have a plan in place to keep downtime at a minimum and warn users well in advance if there will be an outage.

Prepare a Disposal Plan

Each piece of equipment will need to go somewhere. You may have plans in place to send servers to another location or donate them to a local charity. There are strict regulations regarding disposing of old computer equipment, so if that is your plan, make sure you follow those regulations. You should also be aware that each hard drive contains valuable data that can lead to serious problems if it falls into the wrong hands. Have a professional remove the drive and erase and shred it to prevent a data breach that could damage your business’s reputation. Make sure you line up movers who can help dispose of all your equipment, server racks, cables, and other items to avoid having to deal with getting rid of items after they’ve been moved.

Attack your data center decommissioning task the way you would any large project. Schedule regular meetings to plan each phase of the project and make sure each person knows the role they’re expected to play. Professional data center movers have spent years planning data center decommissioning projects and can help your business know what complications can arise during the project.

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