It’s not uncommon for growing organizations to reach a point where their existing data solution is no longer adequate for their needs. In most instances, this happens with companies that have utilized an on-premises infrastructure since the early days of the business, but now need to upgrade their network in order to keep growing. Colocating with a third party data center can provide them with many of the benefits of a private facility without the substantial capital costs that go along with it.
However, relocating equipment and network infrastructure to a data center is not quite as simple as unplugging everything from the old location and plugging it back in at the new location. A data center location doesn’t have to be difficult, but it is a very critical operation that should be undertaken very deliberately with careful planning.
Before anyone touches a single piece of hardware, it’s incredibly important that there is top-to-bottom buy-in regarding the relocation. Everyone in the organization needs to be committed to making the move a success. Management needs to understand the logistical demands of the transition and the IT department also has to keep the operational needs of the company in mind as they make plans. Communication is crucial; everyone has to know when and why the relocation is taking place in order to avoid potential obstacles.
While most organizations will have experienced IT personnel and project managers on staff, a data center relocation is a unique undertaking that combines logistics, budgeting, risk assessment, and a host of other skills. Placing someone with no prior relocation experience in charge of the project increases the likelihood of important steps being overlooked or leaving key questions unanswered. If no one within an organization has such experience, both data centers and managed service providers can often provide the necessary expertise.
Some IT departments, especially for smaller companies with long-tenured teams, will be tempted to lean on their memory when it comes to dismantling and reconstructing their networks. This is never a good idea. Not only are a lot of their assumptions about their infrastructure probably inaccurate, leaning on memory alone means that any unexpected problem could result in total disaster. All it takes is one gap in the institutional knowledge for a network to be rendered completely inoperable, potentially leading to costly downtime.
Every aspect of the existing network needs to be thoroughly documented. Ideally, it should detail the state of the network prior to location, a defined idea of what the relocated deployment will look like, and a comprehensive plan for making the transition. Potential risks and challenges should be identified based on the most up-to-date information available.
With documentation and a plan for the transition in hand, organizations can go about getting the right people in place and allocating the necessary resources to ensure that the transition team has everything it needs to carry out the plan effectively. This migration checklist should be thorough. In addition to working out everything on the client side, the project manager should also work closely with the colocation facility to ensure a smooth transition. A good data center typically offers remote hands support to make the migration as easy as possible avoid any potential complications. Since the data center technicians know the ins and outs of the facility’s infrastructure, they can help the transition team implement a deployment that makes sense for their business needs, such as building out a hybrid cloud architecture or providing redundant ISP connectivity to protect against DDoS attacks.
Relocating IT infrastructure is a high-stakes operation. There is a chance for valuable data to be lost during cloud migration, expensive equipment to be damaged in transit, and mission-critical systems to suffer extensive downtime. A detailed timeline should be developed to minimize these risks and ensure that the data center relocation can be executed as quickly, with as little disruption as possible. By spreading key tasks over a period of time, organizations can make sure they’re covering all critical needs and not waiting until the last minute to rush through the transition.
By taking careful steps to plan their data center relocation, companies can ensure they’re doing everything in their power to make their transition as successful as possible. While it can be tempting to move as quickly as possible, relocating IT infrastructure is a complicated process that should not be further impacted by impatience. Careful planning and rigorous execution in partnership with a colocation facility will help companies to shift into a new deployment with minimal disruption to their business.