A data centre migration implies relocating your existing set-up to another location or operating environment. It can also involve moving your data operations into or out of the cloud.
This process is complicated and requires extensive planning to avoid things going wrong or running behind schedule. It would help if you organised your migration into phases, including:
- Assessing the existing data centre
- Building a migration strategy
- Selecting the destination for migration
- Pre-migration testing
- Post-migration testing
The good news is that you can have a smooth transition with effective planning and observation of data centre migration best practices. Here are key things to consider during each phase of your data centre relocation process
Assessing the Current Data Centre
The first stage of your data centre migration plan is becoming aware of the exact capabilities of your current infrastructure. You want to pay attention to factors such as applications, server/operating system requirements, and network. Let’s go over a short checklist for this phase.
- Make a catalogue:
It should detail existing assets, preferably categorised according to their criticality. How are they being used and what’s their relationship to your business? You may find that some assets are irrelevant and do not need to be part of the shift.
- Assess asset stability:
You want to be aware of the equipment's age and condition. Will it be fine during transport or is it in danger of failing? Ensure you have healthy equipment on standby if you suspect things could go wrong during the move.
- Know your network:
It is vital to understand your network and whether the new location will be able to support your way of communication. It would help to thoroughly test for latency and connectivity as opposed to relying on replicated configurations.
- Map your scope, time, and cost:
How much physical space will you require, and what will be your new energy needs? Mapping out your requirements will help identify the tasks you can handle and those that will need bolstering from external resources.
Moreover, keep in mind that migration is an opportunity for improvement in many unique aspects beyond your main objective. For instance, your primary goal may be to increase storage space and bandwidth, but you realise that you may also cut operational costs.
Building a Data Centre Migration Strategy
Now that you understand what you are dealing with and the changes you need to achieve after your migration, you are ready to come up with a good strategy. You should have a manager and a team to handle the migration project by this point.
Consider involving a consultant with extensive experience in data centre migrations, even if your team is knowledgeable. This collaboration could smooth out the transitions and help prevent costly downtime.
Keep the following in mind as you come up with a migration strategy:
- Assign detailed tasks:
Ensure each member of your data centre migration team knows exactly what is expected of them. Knowing their colleagues’ obligations is key to effective collaboration as well.
- Plan data and application migration:
Your options include backup drives, portable media, and network-based data transfer. Network-based data transfer is best for large data loads, in which case bandwidth availability and network stability would be key.
- Plan Hardware Migration:
A significant movement of hardware is involved when adopting a colocation provider or switching data centres. Ensure you take inventory and work with an experienced team when transporting fragile equipment.
- Establish how to move your equipment:
Will you use a forklift process where equipment is picked up and moved or does the problem require a swing migration that will ensure uptime throughout the process?
Select a Destination for the Migration
Identify key options that would suit your business goals, both current and future. Your perfect fit data centre should meet high standard data security and compliance requirements.
They should also be able to offer better services than what you were getting in the house or with your current solution. We are talking about network robustness, electricity backups, redundant network capabilities, data backup and security, recovery, and technical support.
For example, if you are looking for colocation hosting, you want your colocation provider to have backup generators, UPSs, several ISPs, 24/7 physical security, technical support (including managed server hosting), round-the-clock access, efficient power consumption, etc.
Remember, moving is expensive, and a long-term contract can hike the cost further if you work with a substandard provider. Here’s more for your checklist:
- Evaluate options:
Compare several providers to find out who suits your needs best. Do not hesitate to call them and ask as many questions as necessary.
- Verify target data centre:
A pre-production assessment is necessary to ensure successful deployment. Consider that a minor mismatch could be fatal for your migration costs and uptime.
Testing the pan beforehand is a crucial part of your migration. On the contrary, moving to a new location or platform for the first time on the actual day of migration could result in unforeseen challenges and downtime.
Ensure you test networking, application performance, server provisioning, etc., as a layer of validation. Use your migration checklist to investigate potential issues before moving every single asset.
This is the moment you have been waiting for. You will have an easy time moving if you have nailed every single element of your migration checklist and feel confident proceeding with the plan. There’s not much to say about migration other than “stick to the plan.”
This step is a vital part of your data centre migration checklist as well. You do it to confirm that everything is running smoothly without any issues. In this step, you want to look for any redundancies, format, schema, database security, or integrity of value issues.
Your migration team will also be wise to conduct various tests on performance and function based on different types of workloads. Moreover, additional testing may be necessary if you are migrating refactored applications.
Final Thoughts on Data Centre Migration Best Practices
A data centre move can result in improved efficiency, operational costs reduction, better security, network redundancy, improved scalability, and more. Remember to start by stating your objectives, then assessing your equipment to determine what will move or get left behind.
A “lift and shift” process may help move your workloads and applications intactly onto a different IT environment. For instance, you could transfer your servers to colocation hosting, managed hosting, or shared hosting.
However, lift and shift may not work for migration to the cloud because the cloud is often a very different environment from on-premise set-ups. Therefore, you should be prepared to change a few of your applications if you are moving to the cloud.
Lastly, “assume that all assumptions fail.” Assumptions may tank any good strategies you have in place. It might be impossible to avoid them entirely, but the lesser your assumptions the better.
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