Relocating a data center is a complex undertaking that involves extensive planning, expert knowledge, and extensive experience.
Not only do you have to orchestrate the packing and transportation like any other corporate relocation but you also need to ensure that the move is planned meticulously to avoid costly downtime or data losses.
Here are some industry best practices to ensure a seamless data center relocation:
1. Project Management
Appoint a project manager as a single point of contact to ensure proper communication so nothing falls through the crack.
A project plan should be established to address the timeline, resources, budget, personnel, and dependencies to help ensure that critical milestones are met. You also need to address potential risks and have contingency plans in place.
All parties involved, such as partners, vendors, subcontractors, and employees should receive a comprehensive briefing of their relocation roles and responsibilities prior to the start of the project.
Properly planning every aspect of the relocation is critical to having a successful move. In particular, areas that involve specialized knowledge should be properly documented to avoid miscommunications.
Here are some essential documents you’ll need:
- Current state assessment: includes diagrams, inventory lists, service-level agreements, descriptions of support processes currently in use.
- Desired future state: provides defining attributes for the project and outlines the conditions of success.
- Design plan: details a “roadmap” for getting from the present method of operation to the desired future state.
- Implementation plan: includes all steps, dates, and responsible parties for the tasks to be accomplished in the proper sequence. This will become the basis for the “runbook” — a minute-by-minute move-day plan for all relocation activities.
3. Infrastructure and Inventory Assessment
To start the relocation process, establish a thorough understanding of your infrastructure, network, and equipment.
Besides an inventory of all the hardware, you also need a detailed listing of your operating systems, applications, and software licenses.
This inventory will help you design your migration strategy. For example, the sequence of migration, a list of workloads that will work the same way post-migration, and those that need to be handled differently.
4. Applications and Dependencies Mapping
Having a clear understanding of which applications are running on your data center hardware and which ones are dependent on outside servers is critical to ensuring that applications are migrated in the correct sequence to minimize downtime.
Many data center relocation services can help save time and avoid errors with an automation solution, which allows you to copy physical and virtual servers to the new location without taking anything offline.
5. Move Day Orchestration
There’s a lot to consider on the big day. The more prepared you are, the more likely the move will go smoothly:
- Create a “run book,” which details the minute-by-minute activities for move day.
- Avoid making changes on move day unless it’s absolutely necessary. Rash decisions can lead to unknown implications that could derail the move.
- Use technologies such as RFID tags and GPS tracking systems to make sure you know where everything is.
- Properly protect all equipment and use air-conditioned trucks for the move.
- Ensure physical security during loading, unloading, and transit, e.g., background check all personnel involved and consider using a security escort service.
- Hire a moving company that’s experienced in dealing with IT equipment, especially if you have heavy equipment or delicate technology.
6. Post-Relocation Restart and Testing
When you have all the equipment situated and all the hardware plugged in at the new facility, the work isn’t done yet.
Prior to the move, you should devise a post-relocation restart and testing plan to make sure everything is operating optimally before going live.
Make sure all the devices that are changing status on the relocated network are re-IP’ed and reconfigured accurately. Have a process in place to troubleshoot equipment that’s not communicating properly with the relocated or new network.
7. Post-Move Clean Up
After everything is up and running, there is still a list of to-do’s to dot the i’s and cross the t’s:
- Review punch list to ensure everything is done.
- Create proper documentation of all relocated elements.
- Perform decommission and restoration of the old data center.
- Liquidate assets that are no longer needed.
- Dispose of and recycle base materials.
A data center relocation often involves the disposal of old equipment (e.g., copper from cabling, metals from racks and conveyance) and packaging materials, which has environmental implications.
To optimize the efficiency of your relocation and minimize the environmental impact, work with a data center relocation service that offers a material recycling program to ensure an eco-friendly move and a seamless transition.