How to Migrate Your Data Centre
One of the few constants in business is change: Companies change ownership, merge, purchase other organisations, and move to new facilities. Over time, many businesses require a data centre migration.
If you are considering a migration of your data centre, you’ll find that the time you spend planning and preparing contribute significantly to the success of your move. By engaging in best practices, you can ensure that your data centre move goes smoothly and that you experience minimal downtime to your operations.
What do you need to know to plan your migration, make the move, and get up and running again as quickly as possible?
Planning the Migration
When you decide to migrate your data centre, you open up myriad possibilities. You can spend some time cleaning house, so to speak, and streamline your assets. You can review your equipment and procedures, and you can make upgrades as needed. By spending time planning your migration, you increase productivity and efficiency in your new location.
Before you begin your move, consider the following planning steps:
- Identify your goals and the desired end result.
- Determine the individuals in your organisation who need to be involved and the roles they will play in the move. Be sure to include representatives of your IT department as well as operations, and notify any team members who will be affected.
- Consider your long-term technology planning. Do you expect changes in your company or your industry that may affect your technology needs within the next few years? Your move is the perfect time to plan for coming changes.
Once you’ve completed the initial planning phase for your new data centre, you’ll need to attend to the details. Before you begin moving equipment, take the following steps.
- Put together a specific plan, timeline and lists of tasks for the move. Consult your IT team, administrators and other stakeholders.
- Create a comprehensive inventory of all items housed in the data centre, and determine what will be moved. Include the stakeholders that control each asset, along with the persons and departments that use the equipment.
Before you begin breaking down equipment, check to ensure that all components and parts are present, and notify any vendors with whom you have ongoing contracts for service. Make sure you have all serial numbers and proof of warranties for all your equipment, and keep everything together. Ensure that you will not invalidate any warranties by moving the equipment.
You may determine that you need some new equipment and that you do not wish to move everything housed in your current data centre. The move is the ideal time to retire legacy technology components and transition to newer models.
- Create a backup and recovery plan, or implement an existing plan. Before you begin your move, ensure that you have redundant, comprehensive, offsite backups of all data and applications. Use your disaster recovery plan to test your backups before you begin the move.
- Pack and Prepare for the Move. Physically preparing your equipment to weather the move safely will be a big job. Be sure to assemble enough team members to help with both preparation and the move itself. Typically, such a move occurs during an evening or weekend, so make sure team members will be available when you need them.
Choose a time for the move that avoids any especially busy periods for your company, and make sure your team members for the move will not be needed on other major projects. Designate specific jobs for each team member — including individuals who will physically move items and those assigned to setup and testing in the new location.
Label all items clearly as you pack, and note the specific areas where the equipment will be installed. Be sure to recycle or find other environmentally responsible methods of disposing of any unwanted equipment and supplies.
During the move, have a plan to maintain security, and ensure that any equipment containing sensitive data remains under the watch of multiple team members.
Once your team has moved all data centre components to the new location, allow sufficient time for assembly and installation. When the move and setup are complete, you can begin comprehensive testing to ensure that equipment is up and running to your operational specifications.
You may be tempted to put the move behind you immediately, but take time to conduct a review. Speak with the team members who assisted, as well as company executives and system users, to evaluate what went smoothly and what can improve for the future. Create documentation that your team can use for any future data centre moves.
After completing your move, periodically assess the many benefits of your new data centre — from 24-hour support to high-level security and customised solutions. If you’re just entering the planning phase for a data centre migration, use these best practices to make your move a success.