Many businesses see value in migrating their technology to a third-party data center. Advantages can include financial savings, better performance, the ability to partner with other companies, expanding global reach, better customer satisfaction, and faster disaster recovery.
Data migration requires a great deal of planning. The IT department of the company contracting with the data center needs to examine a range of issues before actually enacting the migration.
When developing their data migration plans, companies should:
- Understand the reason for the migration; are the reasons to expand markets, to manage technology, to save money, to plan for disaster, because of a business merger, or for other reasons?
- Plan for the future – Companies should anticipate whether they might want to expand their operations even further at a later time.
- Create a concise, step-by-step plan that identifies stages, timelines, allowable downtime, and notice requirements.
- Review all current legal agreements to see that the data center move is permissible and what legal issues might exist.
- Identify which outside vendors need to be involved in the move.
- Review the migration with all the appropriate departments:
- Management will be concerned with costs.
- IT staff need to understand all the server, storage, and software dependencies.
- Business divisions need to know when they might not be able to operate.
- Customers need to have notice of any delays.
Reasons Data Center Migrations Go Wrong
There are many reasons the data migration can fail. A few of these include:
- An inexperienced IT department. If the company IT department does not have enough experience to understand the issues in a data migration, hiring an outside consultant may be the better choice. The IT department must understand the terminology and capacity of the data center. The IT department also needs to understand which parts of its information systems are dependent on other parts.
- IT departments that don’t work with each other. Large companies may have several locations or different floors within the same building. For these or other reasons, there are really multiple IT departments within a company. Each IT department needs to understand what the other departments are doing. If they do not, many practical, technical, business, and legal problems can ensue.
- Failing to understand who is responsible. The company has to decide which IT operations it will own and manage and which operations it will be leasing with the data center.
There are many strategies the IT department will need to employ during the migration. Some strategies to consider are:
- The IT department should take a full inventory of the current servers, hardware, software, etc. so they can know what is needed and plan for dependency issues.
- Understanding any limitations the data center has, such as whether the data center can supply enough electrical power, cooling power, storage, computing power, etc.
- A contingency plan should be in place. The best data migration plans anticipate problems in advance and provide plans to handle them. Contingency plans can include identifying the crucial systems that must be in place and having backups for those systems.
- Experienced data centers have professionals who understand the key migration issues and how to prepare for them. Companies should not be afraid to speak to and question the data center representative during the migration planning stage.
- Develop a testing plan to make sure the migration is working before going public. The testing plan should verify that servers, electrical systems, and networks are all working. Small amounts of data should be tested for accuracy.
- Figure out ahead of time what to do with the old equipment so that removal of the systems complies with relevant health, safety, and environmental standards.
- Update all business documentation to comport with the new data center operations.
Speak with a Volico professional who can guide you through the data migration process
It’s easy to say companies that are migrating information systems to a data center should have a plan. It’s hard to know what that plan should entail. The best data migration plans are based on years of experience. Experienced data center management professionals can help you draft the right plan for your business and technology needs. To discuss data center migration, call Volico at 888-865-4261. Our professional staff is ready to help you through this complex transition.