Datacenter migration: moving your IT environment in four steps

You’ve made the decision. The best datacenter for your organization is ready to welcome you as a new client. The one thing remaining is the physical move of the IT environment. A time-consuming, complex and risky endeavor. Remain in control of your migration with these four steps.

1. Decide what needs to be moved

A large-scale migration of an IT environment on premise to an external datacenter is the ultimate moment to phase out dated equipment, to exchange borrowed goods and to ensure that at the new location your IT environment will once again comply with the highest standards. Go through all hardware and software contracts. Are there contracts that can be terminated?

Since this is the moment where your entire IT environment is being taken apart and rebuilt, it’s an opportune time to get rid of any troublesome suppliers, try out a new service, and/or strike a better deal with an existing supplier. A migration grants you the opportunity to take a critical look at the efficiency of your environment, and to decide what does and what does not work well.

When you know what equipment needs to be moved, you decide whether this happens in one go or in stages. In addition, it is a good idea to decide whether you will be conducting the move yourself, or whether to hire an external specialized business to do this for you.

2. Meticulously map out the environment and its equipment

Before pulling any plugs, inspect everything with system log files and inventory documentation. Determine whether everything is actually present, and add new equipment to the lists. Measure the power usage of your system to determine the actual load of the system, planned backups, software, and applications used. If you have service contracts, this is the time to notify them of the move. Disaster recovery for example, will need to be led to the new location.

Label everything that will remain behind, and what needs to move. If a piece of equipment is coming in the migration make sure to note down information about its warranty and the serial number. Ensure that the warranty of none of the devices expires during the migration period.

This is also the moment to setup or alter backups and disaster recovery. It is recommended to have both a physical backup as well as one in the cloud. Testing the disaster recovery service is good way to prepare for the actual migration.

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3. Compile a team and execute the migration

Plan the intended migration date at a time that will keep the inconvenience to the business to a minimum. A busy period such as the launch of a new product or a large internal project is not an appropriate time.

Compose an extensive plan for moving-day which lists what is being moved and how, and which contains plans for backup, installations, and tests. Keep the risks of every step in the back of your mind, and try to keep the disruptions to the business to a minimum.

Security is of utmost importance during this process. Know your staff, keep track of where equipment is located and keep an eye on the security log files.

It is advisable to check the migration route beforehand. You can for example choose not to drive past water with valuable equipment. Do not move all your assets at once, but in sections. Should something unexpectedly happen en route, not all equipment will be involved.

Hiring an external moving agency and taking up extra insurance are also options.

4. Document and test

After everything has been installed in the new location, testing can begin. Take your inventory list and check all the equipment in the new location. Evaluate the migration and write a report in which you state what went well and what could have gone better. Did everything go to plan? Which obstacles were thrown your way and how did you handle them? Also take feedback from the team, management and the team leaders from other departments into consideration. Were they bothered by the move? How are their systems operating after the move?

Almost nothing is more complicated than the physical move of an IT environment. Although the steps mentioned above are not complete nor overly detailed, they do offer a place to start thinking about how, what, where, when, and why you will be moving your IT systems and equipment.

The Datacenter Group offers support when furnishing racks, and aid for setting up a migration plan. The organization has a wide network of businesses that can handle the physical move, and collaborates with external parties that can set up entire migration trajectories. Would you like to exchange thoughts and ideas on this with one of our experts? Please contact us for a non-binding meeting. We’re happy to provide you with some additional advice!

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