Moving a Data Center: 5 Best Steps for a Smooth Transition

by | Jul 3, 2024

Moving a Data Center: 5 Key Steps for a Smooth 2024 Transition

 

Why Data Center Relocation is Important

Moving a data center is a task that no one takes lightly. Whether you run a large corporation or a small business, the process involves critical planning and precise execution. Proper data center relocation can enhance ROI, expand resource capacity, and bolster security, making it worthy of any organization’s attention.

Quick Summary: What You Need to Know About Moving a Data Center:

  1. Early Planning is Critical: Spend 90% of your time planning to anticipate and avoid issues.
  2. Understand Your Infrastructure: Review contractual obligations, conduct hardware and application inventory.
  3. Choose the Right Relocation Type: Options range from physical moves to hybrid IT models.

For anyone overwhelmed by the thought of moving a data center, you’re not alone!

I’m Corin Dolan, owner of AccuTech Communications. With over 20 years of experience in moving a data center, my goal is to simplify this complex process for your business. AccuTech has been serving companies in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island since 1993, offering trustworthy and expert solutions for all your communication needs.

Here’s an overview graphic summarizing the key points:

Key Points of Moving a Data Center - moving a data center infographic roadmap-5-steps

Understanding Data Center Relocation

What is Data Center Relocation?

Data center relocation involves physically moving your existing data center equipment to a new location. This could mean:

  • Moving to a new data center
  • Transferring equipment to a colocation facility
  • Moving assets within the same building

Data center migration, on the other hand, is about transferring data between systems or storage devices, regardless of their physical location. This includes:

  • Migrating applications to the cloud
  • Moving workloads into a hybrid IT model

Understanding these differences is crucial for planning your move.

Types of Data Centers

Data centers come in various forms, each serving different needs. Here are the main types:

1. Enterprise Data Centers:

These are built and used by a single organization for their own needs. Tech giants often use these to maintain control and security.

2. Colocation Data Centers:

These act like rental properties. Companies rent space and resources in these facilities. It’s cost-effective and offers scalability.

3. Managed Service Data Centers:

These provide data storage, computing, and other services as a third party. They handle everything, letting you focus on your core business.

4. Cloud Data Centers:

These are distributed and often managed by third-party providers. They offer the flexibility of accessing resources over the internet.

Types of Data Centers - moving a data center

Physical Move vs. Migration

When moving a data center, you can physically move the equipment or migrate data virtually. Both have their pros and cons.

Physical Move:

  • Pros: Maintains existing infrastructure, potentially lower initial cost.
  • Cons: Risk of hardware damage, significant downtime.

Migration:

  • Pros: Modernizes infrastructure, often results in better performance.
  • Cons: Can be complex, higher initial cost.

Why Consider Data Center Relocation?

Relocating a data center can bring many benefits, such as:

  • Improved ROI: Optimizes resource use, reducing operating costs.
  • Scalability: Allows for future growth.
  • Security: Choose a model that fits your security needs.

By understanding these basics, you can better plan and execute a successful data center relocation.

Next, we’ll dive into the critical steps for planning your data center move.

Planning Your Data Center Move

Step One – Early Planning is Critical

When it comes to moving a data center, early planning is the most crucial step. Spend 90% of your time here to avoid pitfalls later.

Inventory: Start by documenting all your equipment and applications. Use tools like TDS TransitionManager to gather and analyze inventory information. Create a detailed list of all virtual and physical servers, storage devices, and other assets.

Critical Index Factor (CIF) and Dependency Maps: Assign a Critical Index Factor (CIF) to each application, indicating its importance and acceptable downtime. Determine interdependencies between applications, servers, and storage to generate dependency maps. This helps in understanding which systems need to move together and which can be moved separately.

Step Two – Communicate Why a Data Center Relocation is Needed

Vision: Clearly communicate the reasons behind the relocation. Whether it’s cost savings, scalability, or improved security, everyone involved should understand the benefits.

Engagement: Engage all stakeholders early in the process. This includes IT staff, management, and even end-users who will be affected by the move.

Management Support: Secure buy-in from top management. Their support can provide the necessary resources and authority to ensure a smooth transition.

Step Three – Assign Capable Resources

Project Manager: Appoint a project manager who will oversee the entire relocation. This person should have strong organizational skills and experience in managing complex projects.

Technical Skills: Ensure that your team includes experts in storage, backup, applications, network, and operations. Each member should be accountable for specific tasks related to their expertise.

Third-party Assistance: Consider hiring experienced data center consultants. Companies like Silverback Data Center Solutions offer field-tested processes and techniques that can help you avoid common pitfalls.

By following these early planning steps, you set the stage for a successful data center relocation. Next, we’ll discuss various strategies for executing the move.

Executing the Move of a Data Center

Physical and Virtual Migration Strategies

When moving a data center, choosing the right migration strategy is crucial. There are three main strategies to consider: Physical to Physical, Virtual to Cloud, and Hybrid.

Physical to Physical: This involves moving all hardware and equipment from one physical location to another. It’s like moving your house; you pack everything up, move it, and set it up again.

Virtual to Cloud: In this strategy, physical servers and applications are migrated to cloud services. It’s like moving from a home office to a virtual workspace. This method offers flexibility and scalability.

Hybrid: A combination of physical and cloud-based solutions. Some data remains on physical servers, while other parts are moved to the cloud. This approach can offer the best of both worlds.

Selecting a Relocation Method

Next, you need to decide on a relocation method. Here are three common methods:

Swing Hardware: Temporary hardware is used to facilitate the move. Think of it as renting a moving van to transport your stuff.

Rent and Replace: Rent new hardware at the new location and replace old hardware as you move. This minimizes downtime and can be more cost-effective.

Green-field: Set up an entirely new data center from scratch. This is like building a new house and moving into it.

Logistics, Equipment Handling, Minimizing Downtime

Logistics: Plan every detail of the move. Create a timeline, assign tasks, and ensure everyone knows their role. Use tools like TDS TransitionManager for inventory and dependency mapping.

Equipment Handling: Handle all equipment with care. Use experienced technicians to unplug, un-rack, re-rack, and cable devices. Transport equipment in “exclusive use” trucks designed for high-value items.

Minimizing Downtime: Downtime can be costly. Plan to move critical systems first and ensure they are up and running before moving less critical ones. Use techniques like vMotion to move live virtual machines with minimal disruption.

By carefully selecting your migration strategy and relocation method, and paying close attention to logistics and equipment handling, you can minimize downtime and ensure a smooth move.

Next, we’ll discuss post-move strategies and verification to ensure everything is working as expected in your new data center.

Post-Move Strategies and Verification

Performance Benchmarking

Once your data center move is complete, it’s crucial to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Performance benchmarking is a key part of this process.

Pre-move benchmarks are essential. They provide a baseline to compare against post-move performance. This involves testing your applications and systems to measure response times, throughput, and other key metrics. Document these results carefully.

Post-move benchmarks should replicate these tests exactly. This helps you confirm that the performance of your applications and systems is as good as or better than before the move. If you notice any decline, it will be easier to pinpoint and address the issue.

Post Move Verification

Post-move verification ensures that your data center relocation was successful. This involves several steps:

  1. Installation Confirmation: Use your audit inventory list to confirm that all equipment is installed in the correct locations. Check that all cables are connected properly and that power supplies are stable.
  2. Testing: Begin testing right away. This includes both hardware and software tests. For hardware, ensure that servers, routers, and other equipment power up correctly. For software, run application tests to verify that all systems are functioning as expected.
  3. OEM Re-certification: If your move involved new equipment or re-installation of existing equipment, you might need to get it re-certified by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). This ensures that warranties remain valid and that the equipment is supported.
  4. Customer Signoff: Once all tests are complete and any issues have been resolved, obtain a signoff from the customer. This formalizes the successful completion of the move and ensures that all parties agree that the systems are functioning correctly.

By following these post-move strategies and verification steps, you can ensure that your data center relocation is successful and that your systems continue to perform optimally.

Next, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about moving a data center.

Frequently Asked Questions about Moving a Data Center

How Much Does It Cost to Move a Data Center?

The cost of moving a data center can vary widely depending on several factors. On average, the expense can range from $5,000 to $25,000 per rack. This includes costs for:

  • Labor: Professional services for planning, packing, and transporting equipment.
  • Equipment: Costs for any new hardware or replacement parts.
  • Logistics: Transportation and handling fees, including insurance for high-value items.
  • Downtime: Potential loss of revenue during the move.

Pro Tip: Always budget for unexpected expenses. It’s wise to add a 10-20% buffer to your estimated costs.

What is the Data Center Migration Process?

Planning is the cornerstone of a successful data center migration. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

  1. Assessment and Inventory: Document all hardware, software, and network configurations. This includes servers, storage devices, applications, and communication resources.
  2. Logical Relocation: Prepare for the move by backing up data and ensuring all software licenses and configurations are in place. This step involves detailed planning to ensure minimal disruption.
  3. Physical Move: Carefully pack and transport equipment to the new location. This involves coordination with logistics providers, ensuring secure and safe handling of sensitive equipment.
  4. Setup and Testing: Once in the new location, reinstall and configure all equipment. Perform thorough testing to ensure everything is working as expected.

What are the Benefits of Data Center Migration?

Data center migration offers several key benefits:

  • Improved ROI: By optimizing resources, organizations can reduce operational costs and make better use of their investments.
  • Scalability: Modern data centers offer scalable solutions that can grow with your business, whether through cloud services or hyperconverged infrastructure.
  • Enhanced Security: Different data center models offer varying levels of security. For example, on-premises data centers provide greater control, while cloud data centers come with built-in security features.

Case Study: A tech company moved its data center to a colocation facility and saw a 30% reduction in operating costs, along with a 50% increase in resource capacity.

By understanding the costs, process, and benefits involved, you can make an informed decision about your data center relocation. Moving a data center is a complex task, but with careful planning and execution, it can lead to significant improvements in performance and efficiency.

Conclusion

Moving a data center is a major project, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for growth and improvement. With the right planning and execution, your business can enjoy increased efficiency, better performance, and significant cost savings.

Future Planning is crucial. The technology landscape is always changing, so it’s important to keep an eye on emerging trends and innovations. Regularly reviewing your data center setup can help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure your infrastructure continues to meet your business needs.

Continuous Improvement should be a key focus after your move. Establish a routine for regular audits and updates. This helps keep everything running smoothly and allows you to quickly adapt to any new requirements or challenges.

At AccuTech Communications, we specialize in helping businesses navigate the complexities of data center relocation. Our network cabling services ensure your new setup is optimized for peak performance. From early planning to post-move verification, we are here to support you every step of the way.

By structuring this article with detailed, informative sections, we’ve aimed to address common questions and concerns about moving a data center. Our goal is to provide comprehensive insights that help you make informed decisions and achieve a smooth, successful relocation.

If you’re planning a data center move, contact us today to learn more about how we can assist in making your transition seamless and efficient.

 

Data Center Relocation Services: Ensuring a Smooth Move

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