The 411 on Data Center Migration (DCM)

Large and small enterprises need an experienced third eye on the ball to keep things on track. This is why IDMWorks offers DCM services, so clients can stop worrying and get to know peace of mind.

Even within IT most people do not clearly understand Data Center Migrations or why you would want to do them. In a nutshell, a Data Center Migration (DCM) is moving technology.

They come in three general forms (and assorted hybrids of the three):

  • Standing up a new data center and moving into it
  • Relocation into a colocation site/facility
  • Moving from one technology to another

Considering how much effort is put into Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS), generators, batteries, and other technology to keep equipment up and running, one can assume there must be a pretty good reason to shut things down on purpose.

Let’s take a look at why an enterprise may accept the risks associated with a DCM.

Existing Data Center Not Keeping Up

If your enterprise is growing or merging ,or just keeping more data for transaction research, you may outgrow your current capacity.

If your facility is aging you may find that maintaining its infrastructure is becoming problematic. Perhaps aging equipment cannot be enlarged or the maintenance costs are rising.

Upgrading on site is often not satisfactory because it may require operating without redundant support.

Many financial and healthcare enterprises cannot accept the risk of system failures even during a few days needed for an efficient upgrade.
For example, a hospital’s radiologist may actually read images using computer systems in a remote location. If we know which hour the system will be down we can arrange to have a radiologist come to the hospital to read images in person; but if there is a risk of failure spread over many days it may be difficult to keep a radiologist at the hospital 24×7. This could leave your emergency room or surgical suite without the level of information to which they have become accustomed.

In another example, a broker takes orders to buy or sell in specific circumstances. If the systems fail, and a client misses a profitable opportunity, the firm is liable for the client’s losses. Or if a bank’s fraud detection system goes off line, in just a few minutes, the bank can incur substantial losses. A bank that cannot “balance up” with the financial networks may be subject to penalties. Similarly there are penalties in other industries for failing to meet audit requirements in a timely manner.

Therefore it is possible for an enterprise with growing IT requirements to prefer to build a new data center and move at a defined point in time to avoid a prolonged risk of failure at an unknown time.

Is Colocation the Answer?

For several years SaaS (Software as a Service) has been an acceptable means to support many applications. In the last few years colocation facilities have become widely dispersed and reasonably priced. A colocation facility can be thought of as “Facilities as a Service”.

However, just as leasing a car is usually, but not always, less expensive than buying one; there are circumstances that merit building (or refurbishing) a Data Center rather than co-locating. For example, how will culture clashes be resolved or is there a graceful exit strategy or will they support the density of equipment that the enterprise anticipates?

Why Is Moving From A Technology A Form Of DCM?

There have been many studies of the cost of old technologies. Have you noticed that the “Baby Bells” do not hang onto old equipment? The cost of maintaining it becomes burdensome. It is not just the parts. It is also the expertise. After a type of equipment stops being manufactured the training usually stops. Then for how long can you find people who know how to keep it running (without paying them a premium)?

When an enterprise decides to replace a technology they need to ask several questions. There are the financial and performance questions about the new solution but there is also the question about how quickly an enterprise can abandon the old technology so that they are not carrying the burden of maintaining it.

Some examples include replacing old categories of UTP cabling with new categories that are capable of fast throughput with fewer errors, replacing old phone switches with VoIP, or virtualizing applications. The quicker the completion of the migration to the new technology the greater the savings and efficiencies that can be recognized.

To summarize, whichever form of DCM an your enterprise may be considering, you should review the costs of doing nothing as well as the benefits of doing the migration. Additionally you must consider the costs of not completing the project on time and the risks of not completing the elimination of the old technology.

So what can DCMWORKS offer our customers and prospective clients?

We can assist our clients to quantify the possible regulatory penalties and transaction losses along with the changes in risk levels to continue operating in less than ideal situations. This is often required by management to justify a project that represents a major distraction to business as usual.

We can help a client determine if colocation is beneficial and, if so, which colocation facility is best aligned with their enterprises needs.

We can be a third party counselor to check the vendors’ assumptions and coordinate research and execution of technology migrations.

Large and small enterprises need an experienced third eye on the ball to keep things on track.