While CFOs dream that a data center relocation (physical not logical) will save money, these projects often translate into an IT team’s nightmare. It is easy to understand why; an IT department’s experience with a migration, if any, is probably poor and as a result, there is material risk of a failure. While Internap doesn’t actually perform data center migrations as a part of our service offering, as a colocation provider, we see data center consolidation happen a lot as new customers join our team.

Here are some best practices on data center migration planning based on observation and customer feedback.

  • Establish a budget
    Don’t kid yourself about what this really will cost in terms of people and time. Revisit the budget often; sometimes what seemed like a good idea may not have the return on the investment originally anticipated.
  • Establish a project team
    Like every other well planned project, define roles, responsibilities and expectations. Establish a regular cadence to meetings and/or method for communication.
  • Set a scope and then focus the team’s initial efforts on discovery
    Understand what applications and what hardware is being moved. Don’t forget to scope the risks.
  • Develop a detailed plan ahead of time.
    It needs to be a detailed plan not simply a general guideline. We’ve seen plans detailed down to the individual piece of hardware. (That migration went very well.) But more than that, assemble the plan in a way that makes sense for your business. That means prioritize the migrating application, categorize the hardware.
  • Create a checklist
    Don’t forget to plan for risk mitigation in the event that something goes wrong.
  • Involve the data center provider
    Hopefully, its Internap. As a colocation provider, we do understand migration challenges and our need to be flexible when coordinating timelines and service availability.

Communication with the service providers makes sure that there is space and people available at the loading dock, that security is prepared for any third parties involved and that there aren’t major maintenance events or other major customer installs occurring at the same time.

Hopefully, this helps. If all this did was make you more nervous, there are data center movers who specialize in the development of a data center migration plan and who can also, actually perform the relocation work. In most cases, Internap can recommend a local partner that we’ve successfully worked with before. So give us a call.