Data Center Migration Plan: How deep should you plan?

There is no single migration plan that all business entities should follow when migrating data centers. A simple migration plan can be a disaster when there are critical systems and a deep dive discovery process can be a waste of resources when there is no need. In any event, it is worth getting someone who specializes in moving IT equipment to assure that your equipment is disassembled, packed, transported and reinstalled without damage and in accordance with your maintenance and warranty needs.

Primary Migration Plan Decision Questions

  • Will you build out WAN, core, and cabling (as applicable) at your new location before you move the rest of your operations into it?
  • Can your IT group survive if the applications do not come back up for one business day?
  • Can your IT staff has the shut down and restart all your applications at one time in a new location (often including IP address changes)?
  • Are there less than (about) 50 applications and 100 pieces of equipment?
  • Are you migrating from a single location to a single location?

If you can answer all the questions in the affirmative, then you may be able to use what we refer to as a “Quick Migration Plan”. From there, plans become increasingly complex; but it is not binary. That is to say, in each case you must consider which steps are required to make your migration successful. There is no maximum limit – we have, for example, moved production and DR IT processes for a bank with 140 branches, over 250 applications, and over 900 equipment items among 5 data centers in 3 scattered states.

Quick Migration Plan

We can help you with site requirements and site selection at the level you desire. We can help you schedule and manage delivery and installation of your WAN, LAN, and SAN at the level you desire. We will confirm your equipment inventory and connections at the level you desire. We will confirm that your staff has sufficient documentation to support alternatives in the migration. We will confirm facility requirements for the move and provide Certificates Of Insurance (COI) as required and select moving equipment that will meet your needs. We will prepare a migration run-book and review it with you shortly before the migration. The run-book will include responsibilities and projected schedules. In some cases, we assist you in preparing an order for new patch cables and/or labeling the patches.

On the day of the migration event, we will confirm that your staff is completing steps in the run-book. Then, when the equipment is shut down, we will pack carefully pack the equipment and maintain control of it to the new site, where we will install it. Depending on your stated needs, we will patch in the equipment ready for your staff to restart and test the applications.

In a few select cases, where the enterprise is willing to accept certain risks, a Quick Migration Plan can be used where the WAN and core will not be built out in advance.

More Complex Migration Plans

If your enterprise requires that systems “flip” quickly or your volume requires moving in phases, data replication, etc., together with you, we go deeper in all phases from start-up to conclusion.

  • We consider staff structure and who should be involved in weekly progress meetings.
  • We do a discovery process called Application Finger-Printing (AFP) that looks into each application for possible risks. Physical inventory is linked to applications to eliminate risks including latency. Discovery includes an inventory process on physical, virtual, and storage resources.
  • We plan migration phases to assure successful movement of data and function so that the applications are moved on timely schedule and function as expected when brought back up.
  • We execute each wave of the migration with all the steps noted in the Quick Migration Plan. After each wave, we participate in a lessons learned session to assure that the more critical application in the middle waves are subjected to minimal and acceptable risks. If needed, we maintain audit control of the data and equipment to standards acceptable in the healthcare and credit card industries.


DCMWorks reviews your needs and, subject to our minimum quality standards and your decision structure, participate with you at the level you need to assure a migration that meets the needs and expectations of your management.