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What You Need to Know About Your Data Center Migration Options

By: John Longo on July 24, 2019

Aspiring start-ups often launch their products and services with a relatively modest IT infrastructure. Whether they’re relying on a public cloud platform or an on-premises solution that consists of a server or two packed into an office closet, they generally lack the powerful computing capacity of larger, more established companies. Sooner or later, their success will force them to reevaluate their data solution. If they want to keep growing their business, they need to reevaluate future data processing solutions.

What is a Data Center Migration?

Data center migration is the process by which an organization relocates its IT infrastructure into a new data center environment. There are a variety of their options, including moving assets into a new private facility, installing servers in a colocation data center, or placing data and software applications in a virtualized, software-defined data center (SDDC) environment.

Making this move can be a complicated process, but it often makes sense for growing organizations. Sooner or later, a business of any size will outgrow its existing data solution and will need to scale capacity to keep up with growing customer demand. Some organizations (although less than in the past) turn to a purely cloud-based solution, lifting-and-shifting critical data and applications into a public cloud environment. For companies that want to retain the control, security, and versatility that comes from having physical servers, a data center migration is an ideal solution because it allows them to leverage the superior infrastructure and connectivity of a colocation facility without many of the risks that come with a cloud environment.

Data Center Migration Best Practices

Develop a Data Center Strategy

The first step to any data center migration, of course, is to determine how a data center can advance the business goals of a company. By developing a data center strategy that clearly lays out how the data center fits into a company’s operations, it’s much easier to make long-term growth plans around IT infrastructure. For example, an organization looking primarily for a disaster recovery solution will have different networking needs than one hoping to use data centers to expand the reach of its edge computing architecture. Similarly, companies that rely on big data analytics to inform their business strategy will need to make sure their data center strategy allows them to access and utilize those resources effectively without compromising other infrastructure needs.

Evaluate Your Data Center Migration Options

Once a data center strategy is in place, it’s time to start evaluating data center migration options. Not all colocation facilities are created equal. Some offer only minimal functionality, serving as little more than a data warehouse. Others, however, provide enterprise-level services that were once available to only the largest companies. Carrier-neutral facilities provide a broad range of connectivity options, allowing customers to build complex hybrid and multi-cloud environments that preserve their control over their infrastructure while also giving them access to scalable cloud computing solutions. Top tier colocation facilities also provide intelligent monitoring services (such as vXchnge’s award-winning in\site platform) that allow them to manage their colocated infrastructure remotely as easily as if it were on-premises.

Create a Data Center Migration Plan

Planning a data center migration is one of the most important tasks an organization will ever undertake. The migration process not only involves relocating physical equipment, but it also means potentially disrupting the network services that equipment provides. Without careful planning and execution, a data center migration could result in extended system downtime or permanently damage essential legacy operating systems and databases. Every step of the migration should be mapped out, starting with an infrastructure audit and equipment list that identifies every application and piece of hardware that will need to be moved (and in what order it should be moved). Premigration assessments also need to be conducted to identify potential risks and establish how computing assets will be deployed when they reach their new home in a data center.

Identify Data Center Migration Tools

Once a plan is in place to identify what needs to be relocated, IT managers need to assess the best way to move those assets. Some equipment will likely be replaced or rendered redundant during the migration, so it’s critical to determine which data center migration tools should be used to ensure continuity. This is especially important for legacy operating systems, databases, and applications that are being lifted and shifted into a new environment. In many cases, it simply isn’t possible to move applications without rearchitecting them. For legacy hardware that can’t be replaced, some amount of customization might be necessary using data center migration tools to make that hardware function correctly in the new data center infrastructure. By identifying the right tools ahead of time, organizations can avoid costly downtime as they try to prevent problems during deployment.

While relocating IT infrastructure into a new environment can be an exciting time for a growing company, it’s important that they understand their data center migration options. Rushing headlong into a migration without a clearly defined plan can result in a variety of problems, many of which contribute to system downtime. By establishing a comprehensive migration plan that takes all data center migration options into account, organizations can ensure that their transition will be as seamless as possible.

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