One often overlooked aspect of relocating your data center is the impact the move will have on your end-users and their applications. While the underlying technology is important, your clients are interacting with their applications on a daily basis. If we take a top down approach to data center migration, and start by understanding your application level and then working our way down through the interfaces to the Server/Storage and finally the network, we can uncover the true effect the move will have on your end-user clients.
With many of our customers, we find there are conflicting lists of applications and hardware an IT department feel they support. We find that once we bring the IT and business owners together, additional applications are uncovered. Often times there are also end-user staff acting as shadow IT.
The DCMWORKS application mapping process known as Application Fingerprinting (AFP) helps us understand the true landscape of existing application environment which will be changed by the upcoming data center relocation. Questions such as: “What other applications, servers or interfaces do you require?” lead to information about unique application requirements such as special video boards, or USB connected dongles that need to be accounted for during the move. Or “Has your application had a disaster recovery exercise?”, “What were the results?” , ”What is your RTO/RPO?” leads to discussions on converting existing regression test plans in into post-move verification testing.
Another very interesting byproduct of the Application Fingerprinting Process occurs when the application and technology teams begin sitting down with one another on a regular basis.
Initially, we tend to see silos of support and a bit of mistrust between the application and technology teams. We may see application teams, who don’t know the servers or storage required to run their application. We see requests for information thrown over the fence to the other team. But by following a structured approach to the fingerprinting process, we see the groups understanding how and why the other teams work. It is always nice to witness teams mature as they strive to meet a common goal. This is key preparation, and growth, which make for a successful migration.