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Data Center Migration: Planning, Strategy, and Execution

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Executing a Flawless Move from Start to Finish

There are many reasons why an organization may need to migrate a data center (DC).  For example, a data center migration can be triggered by a data center consolidation after a merger, because of an expansion during an end-of-lease situation in order to abide by regulatory requirements, due to a move to the cloud, or by way of a number of other scenarios. Unfortunately, data center migration is a particularly complicated process that involves the deployment and transfer from one (existing) data environment to another operating environment. This migration of data may seem like it should be a relatively straightforward, simple operation. However, there are many moving parts to manage throughout the process, including current data center contractual obligations, hardware inventory, communications inventory, applications inventory – and the list just seems to go on.

Managing Current Data Center Contractual Obligations

Prior to initiating any data center migration strategy, you will need to conduct a thorough review of the existing contractual obligations and conditions related to the current data center you are migrating away from. This includes any termination clause (if applicable), and any penalties that may be associated with leaving prior to the term of the contract, if your organization is choosing to do so. Depending on the costs associated with termination, you may elect to hold off migration for a period of time, or to find another strategy that is more cost-effective.

Hardware and Communications Inventory

The second step in a sound data center migration strategy is a thorough assessment of existing infrastructure, including a complete hardware and communications inventory. Updating your configuration management database, as well as any other asset tracking systems you have in place, is a sound way to begin to assess what you are migrating and what challenges may arise during the migration. A successful data center migration depends upon the ability to completely see the entire picture at any given time, especially at the outset. That picture will evolve over time, of course, but thorough assessment is key to a successful planning phase.

Application Inventory Map

The third crucial component of a winning data center migration strategy is a thorough and comprehensive inventory, or map, of your enterprise applications. Conducting this assessment gives you visibility regarding what may have changed in your database over the ensuing years since its creation. It also allows you to check for redundancies, and other things you can eliminate through consolidation. Furthermore, an inventory of applications allows you the opportunity to sort through items, checking against what can be moved to the cloud and what cannot, giving you a clear view of what your dependencies are regarding certain applications—dependencies that could, in time, prove to be liabilities.

Best Practices for CMDB

Thorough preparation and planning are key to a successful data center migration. The process involves the aforementioned steps, as well as key best practices for configurations management database, including:  
  • Using the RFP process to establish requirements
  • Mapping the layout of the server room and cabling to all components
  • Taking a thorough inventory of all equipment

Planning and Strategy for a Smooth Migration

Regardless of whether you are migrating to the cloud, to another server, or (more likely) to some combination of the two, adhering to configuration management database (CMDB) best practices while implementing your specific and well-considered data center migration strategy is essential to migrating from one location to another with as little disruption as possible. Keep up with our blog for more CMDB tips and articles.
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Michael Mazyar
Michael Mazyar is responsible for implementing the SolarWinds Service Desk vision, including all service and technology strategy and serves as our Distinguished Engineer of ITSM. A…
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