Best Practices for a Successful Data Center Migration

Migrating a data center involves the moving of data assets in an existing data center – be it on-premise, software, or hardware – to a new location. It could mean moving an on-premise data center to one in the cloud, or moving enterprise applications and data from a legacy cloud solution to something more current like Microsoft Azure, or replicating a data center environment into an edge data center.

A risk-free, smooth, and secure data center migration however involves certain Data Center Migration Best Practices that will help your IT team manage the change more seamlessly.

Conduct a detailed audit

Doing an audit of the current data center is the first and most important step to a successful move. The IT team must perform a comprehensive assessment of your existing data center, starting with an analysis of the applications supported, application owners, upgrades, planned downtime, OS and storage requirements, and so on.

Chart out a clear project plan

Any major and successful data center migration must begin with a project management plan that details a comprehensive process to include procedures, risks, deviations etc. before even a single piece of equipment is unplugged. A project manager is appointed and team roles are defined for smooth execution of the project management plan.

Establish a budget early on

This is an essential requirement before you begin with the data center migration project because too often have such initiatives failed due to poor budgetary planning. It is unsurprisingly easy to exceed the planned spend, so setting a realistic budget is a great idea. Ensure that the destination data center provider has everything in place that allows your infrastructure to slide in with minimal, or no, adjustments and can support the same (or better) application functionality to continue uninterrupted.

Be certain of project timelines

You obviously know that a data center migration is more complex than a simple plug-out and plug-in process. Each step in the migration process must be completed in sequence for the assured success of the project as a whole. You can’t afford to lose data or discontinue applications be it for external customers or employees, the new equipment and/or the set-up in the cloud must function efficiently etc. A setback in any single milestone will create delays and errors further down in the project plan, adding to migration costs and delays.

Identify data that you want to be replicated

Managing data is perhaps the most crucial element of a data center migration, and can be challenging especially when mission and business-critical applications need uninterrupted access to that data. Losing or damaging data is not an option so your IT team needs to ensure that a data backup strategy is in place before the migration begins. It might also be a good idea to set up a temporary parallel environment to maintain data availability.

Confirm equipment requirements

Moving into a new environment, be it in the cloud or on-premise, is likely to warrant new and/or different equipment needs. The data center project management team thus has to see that the data center provider’s infrastructure is aligned with the physical configuration of the existing equipment. Additional components may need to be deployed to ensure a successful migration, and it is better to put these additions in place before the migration begins.

Establish network services in advance

Just as physical equipment must be set in place before the migration begins, network connectivity and cloud provisions have to be established well in time. This activity typically takes several weeks so it is better to plan ahead and have all systems running. The additional cost is a good trade-off to avoid possible downtime or any other slip-ups during the migration.

A data center migration doesn’t have to be a daunting task if planned well. IT teams must work hard at planning all migration details, identifying potential pitfalls, equipment planning, testing, budgeting etc. A good data center project management plan is essential for the success of the project, as it highlights key milestones and risks and how the organization can achieve the desired objective. The team must make sure they have an ideal cloud platform to host the new data center as per the organization’s requirements. Taking a prescriptive approach to migrating data centers to a cloud with the right tools will help streamline the transition, accelerate time to value, and reduce risk.