Navigating today’s data center options during times of transition

Today’s business landscape requires that organizations wanting to grow and stay competitive, operate with much more agility–adjusting rapidly to shifts in the market. Data centers, now an integral part of supporting this agility, are evolving to support these new requirements. Data center infrastructure now extends beyond the limitations of brick and mortar. Virtual servers that can easily integrate with existing infrastructure allow for more flexibility than ever before. New resources–both physical and cloud-based–can be leveraged easily and on demand.

During times of change, data center teams need to navigate these options with care. Unfortunately, they are often required to move very quickly to find new solutions across a range of networks, computing and storage systems. They are also expected to manage these transitions in ways that result in minimal downtime and risk for the business. This whitepaper helps data center managers and their teams understand the drivers for this change. It presents ways to help teams prepare for transitions to assure success and details important step-by-step considerations.

“The ability to scale and pivot to new technologies at a fraction of the cost has led many organizations to abandon much of their internal infrastructure in favor of a hybrid model. This shift from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud is not likely to end,” – Andrew Froehlich, Network Computing.

What is driving today’s need for change?

Today’s business climate is unique. Market demand is driving a rapid pace of change–and as technology adapts to support this demand the pace of change just continues to speed up. Companies at all stages are looking beyond the limitations and business risks of the static physical data center in search of solutions that enable them to restructure and scale rapidly. Even companies still dependent on physical data centers are consolidating and moving with efficiency top of mind. Some typical business environments that drive data center transitions include:

  • Startup technology companies rapidly outgrowing space, power and climate system capacities
  • The trend of mergers and acquisitions, especially with large enterprise companies, requiring complex data center integrations and consolidations
  • The ever-increasing need to optimize in order to reduce expenses while finding new revenue from existing business
  • Aging and piecemeal data center infrastructure that creates an unacceptable productivity drain and risk potential

Planning for Change: Important Considerations

Cloud migrations, relocation, and colocations–there’s a lot of think about in times of transition. Data center teams may be tempted to fast-track the process in order to meet business demands–but it is important to take a step back and consider options thoroughly before proceeding.

Transition times can present real opportunities for businesses to build more strategy into their data center functionality. Time spent in upfront planning will also ensure a more efficient, smooth process.

Initial steps: Assess and Plan

  1. Make sure your strategy document includes:
    1. A current state assessment
    2. Details of why the move is needed
    3. Success metrics
    4. A financial impact report detailing transition cost and total cost of ownership
  2. Create a data center requirements document leveraging your strategy document
  3. Create and disseminate a Request for Proposals (RFP)
  4. Collect and analyze proposals
  5. Select vendors and negotiate contracts
  6. Assist with site selection recommendations
  7. Build, design and layout of data center space

Next steps: Prepare and manage

  1. Inventory your data center’s assets including applications, servers, storage,
    network and other hardware
  2. Understand and map asset dependencies
  3. Create run books that step-by-step transition plans
  4. Tag all assets with barcode labels that tie the asset to source and destination
    room layouts and rack elevation diagrams
  5. Create, monitor and log tasks for ongoing updates to project team
  6. Audit rail installation, server locations, and cabling throughout the move
  7. Perform a final audit once the transition is completed

Virtual/Hybrid Considerations

Moving data from physical services into cost-effective and efficient virtual components makes sense for many businesses. Some organizations choose to be entirely virtual while other prefer a hybrid set up. Upfront analysis of needs will help you understand the best scenario for you and what applications it might make sense to move. Steps include:

  1. Use your dependency map to design your new environment
  2. Source the hardware, software and virtual providers
  3. Install the hardware that will host the virtual servers, and then perform test migrations
  4. Convert physical servers to their virtual counterparts if needed
  5. Convert and migrate existing virtual servers if needed
  6. Test application performance in the new environment

Partnering for Success

There is so much to consider if you are embarking on a data center change. Partnering early on in the process can assure that the right decisions are made, ones that support a smooth transition as well as long-term success. Partnering makes particular sense for those organizations that are time and resource constrained.

Basic Solutions has successfully supported hundreds of diverse companies through every imaginable transition. We understand the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them. We can help you regardless of your environment physical, virtual and hybrid–or need help deciding.

Looking To Migrate, Relocate or Consolidate Your Data Center?