What does it take to move a Data Center?

What does it take to move a Data Center? After all it can’t be that hard, its just moving boxes. At least that is what some organizations think. Let DCMWORKS show you why it just isn’t that simple.

Just get a moving dolly, unplug the power to your cabinet, jack it up and throw it into the back of a truck. It’s only a few servers and other things, what is the big deal? That’s an option and maybe it could work for you, after all, you don’t need to worry about lost data, service level agreements and down time is all over rated.

But let’s get serious.

In today’s environment those boxes are the brains of your business and they house medical records, transactions, and other critical data. You probably can’t just throw your servers into the back of a truck and move them. So let’s review exactly what it would take to do this the right way.

1) Coordination (and Experience helps)

For the successful migration of a Data Center there are many parts to the puzzle that need to be properly aligned to get the desired effect. Consider what it takes to have an orchestra produce a concerto. The orchestra is comprised of more than just instruments. There are multiple groups within the orchestra. The woodwinds, brass, percussion, keyboards, and string sections are comprised of multiple instruments, with individual members, and group leaders. Each instrument produces a unique sound and fulfills a specific requirement in completing the musical score. Having talented musicians is not enough. Without the conductor keeping time and guiding the musicians the expected notes, beat and music would not be produced. This is similar to the coordination that is required by the Data Center Migration Team.

So consider the environment surrounding your Data Center for a moment. I am sure that you have separate groups all performing their daily tasks. These tasks are accomplished either flawlessly or maybe there is some room for improvement. In either case, the level of difficulty, the amount of time, and resources required to move a Data Center increase astronomically over your normal routine.

The missing element from your routine that is needed to successfully migrate a Data Center is the coordination and experience of the conductor.

At DCMWORKS we strive to provide this piece of the puzzle. Just as the conductor’s task is to take the talent and skills of the musicians and guide them so they can ultimately play a synchronized score of music. We utilize our experience with Data Center migrations to fully develop your teams’ knowledge and talents and manage them through a successful migration process. The result is more than just the movement of gear and applications to a new site. You will now have a unified team with a greater understanding of your Data Center and its applications.

The DCMWORKS project approach that we utilize progresses through five distinct phases of the project:

1) Start up
In the Start up stage we define the scope and nature of the project. We work with your project champion to create a project charter which documents the business and technical drivers that are affecting the project, high level tasks, project deliverables and a schedule. Stakeholders and other team members are identified which will be supporting the project.

2) Discovery
The purpose of the discovery stage is to identify your hardware, applications, and circuit inventories. This is done through a multi-pronged approach. The DCMWORKS team will gather the current documentation that is in existence, interview the subject matter experts, perform necessary site surveys and establish and run work group meetings. The gathered information will be processed within DCMWORKS’ Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) toolset, which allows us to further refine the project plan and to begin the design phase. Status meetings are routinely conducted to keep all team members informed of the project’s progress.

3) Design
The intent of the design stage is to develop and publish all necessary plans. This is an iterative process conducted in small work group meetings. We work with individual teams to develop their designs and published them to the rest of the teams for comment. All team members need to consider not only their individual plan but also how their plan will affect the designs of others (the dependencies). The designs that are to be developed during this phase include (but are not limited to); the equipment power, space, and elevations within the Data Center; the structured cabling, the connectivity and patching plan for the new Data Center, LAN/WAN/Storage design, telephony, and the actual migration waves. The compilation of these designs are what creates the project plan.

4) Deployment & Validation
Deployment consists of not only the actual migration, but also the coordinated implementation of the project plan. This process involves the management of resources and of time. As each portion of the project plan is completed, the team needs to understand the status of the project and if anything changed that will affect the remaining tasks? There is constant oversight required and as steps are completed the team must ensure that the proper validation has taken place. For the actual migration we follow this same process but on a micro level. The process is actually started at least a week prior to the move when pre-migration tests are performed. Each system is tested for its migration readiness. During the migration, each system that is brought down, shipped and reinstalled in the new Data Center and is tested and validated prior to being reinstated as being back in production.

5) Closeout
After all hardware and applications have been successfully migrated to the new Data Center the team is ready to begin the closeout process. This can involve the return of rental gear that was utilized to facilitate the migration, turning off of circuits that are no longer needed, and returning the old Data Center to pre-lease conditions. Vendor invoices need to be finalized. Warranty and paperwork needs to be filed and a final communication needs to be issued describing what took place and the benefits that your organization will receive because of the project.

So If you believe that you will be undertaking a future Data Center Migration or have questions regarding it’s possibility, we at DCMWORKS invite you to contact us and get to know peace of mind.