Your company’s data center is mission-critical. It’s the foundation of your business and you manage it with precision. When it comes time for a data center move project, accuracy is even more important. You must start with a solid plan.
To create a solid plan, you will need a data center audit. If done correctly, an audit will identify infrastructure weaknesses as well as areas of strength. The criteria for your data center move project can then be determined. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it can provide clarity and save time and money in the long run.
While the audit is being performed, map out a draft of the data center move project plan. Here are a few questions to ask:
- What type of data center migration do you need? Application, Database, or Storage? You may need a combination of these.
- Who are the candidates for Project Manager? Depending on the size and type of company, you may need one person or a team of people. You may also need to outsource for expertise that you don’t have in-house.
- What is the likely timeline? If your project involves software migration in addition to moving hardware, you may need to plan out several short term projects. Alternatively, a plan that is built out in phases can function as a long term plan.
- Which type of data center move project checklist will you use? Checklists such as pre-migration, equipment, and post-move can help the project manager and team stay on track. You can even assign checklist development to different members of the team. In addition to tasks, the list needs to include point person, dependencies, timing, completion criteria, and mitigation actions.
- How will the budget be determined? A key component of a data center relocation is cost. Costs can be shared by departments or a separate allocation can be made. Authorization criteria for spending can be included in this part of the process. Either way, a detailed budget will give a clear picture of the overall project cost.
- When will testing take place? Each step of the move should include a testing component to ensure success metrics are being met. The plan will outline back-ups, give each team member a specific role, and schedule disaster dry runs.
Depending on the complexity of the data center move project, you may want to have a third party data center migration consultant review the plan. Again, this may seem like an unnecessary step, but a third party will identify efficiencies that can save time and money in the long run.
Details, More Details
As mentioned, a meticulous audit and extremely thorough plan are keys to a successful data center move project. When it comes to execution, the devil is in the details and how they are handled. This is the crux of the project. Here are a few examples:
- Logistics vendors are aware of the plan and date to move the hardware.
- Documentation for chain of custody, data erasure, and responsible recycling of IT assets is complete.
- License requirements have been met.
- Spare parts and other peripheral items have been received, labeled, and stored.
- Connectivity across cabling and patch panels has been tested.
- Identify available moving equipment at the new location.
- Map out sequence of moving servers, racks, cabling, and any other equipment.
- List and communicate the order of powering on each piece of equipment.
- Comprehensive disaster plan.
In addition, the project manager will want to have easy access to spares for equipment malfunctions, copies of service level agreements, and contracts for leased hardware.
Assumptions and Contingencies
Once you’ve gone through the audit and mapped out a solid data center move project, evaluate all of the assumptions you have made and counter with a contingency. Here are a few things to consider:
- Have you planned for the short-term only? If your business is growing rapidly, you may want to have a contingency plan that includes colocation, Edge, or hybrid operations.
- Your project manager and team are on board and fully committed. If someone falls ill or is otherwise unable to work, a back-up person should be able to fill in.
- If the project veers off-schedule, does your project manager know how to get back on the timeline? If the timeline needs to be extended, the team needs to discuss and document the impact on success metrics and budget.
- Stakeholders have agreed to the project and signed off. Make sure to keep thorough documentation in case plans, allegiances or interests change.
- Everyone is on board and has the same level of commitment. Team members and even project managers have competing priorities. Keep the communication going by providing clear, consistent information and offering multiple ways to give feedback and ask questions.
Whether it’s twenty devices or two hundred racks, a data center migration can be complex and costly. Silverback Data Center Solutions employs field-tested processes, techniques, and tools developed throughout our many years in the business and thousands of data center move projects. Give us a call to discuss your needs.