How To Keep Your Data Center Migration Schedule On Track

In migration projects, it is important that there be cohesive management to avoid migration schedule slips and keep your data center migration on track. That means managers makes silos work together instead of sequentially. If you will, it is the difference between a Confederation and a Union.

In normal operations, items in the data center are refreshed about every four years (48 months). During a data center migration, most of the items in the data center will be disconnected and reinstalled over in about two months (2 months). That ratio 48:2 or 24:1 represents a required increase in productivity.

Let’s consider the installation of a simple server (without storage, firewalls, or other fancy essentials). Facilities decides where the server will be installed and brings the right power there. Network brings the right data circuits to the same place. The server team installs the unit and configures the OS and utilities. Finally, the application team gets it to produce results for the customer.

The Old Way

If IT silos (in this case facilities, network, servers, and applications) won’t begin their planning until the previous silo completes its work, there will be timing gaps. This model is the Confederation. It may be acceptable in some enterprise’s normal operations; but it will prevent a migration from executing in a timely manner. In this model, the management is hands-on at the silo level.

Current Best Practice

If IT silos coordinate their planning, resourcing, building, and releasing together, the handoffs will be much shorter. This model is the Union. The management is one level higher to coordinate the silos. The Union model doesn’t mean decisions are made above the silos. It does mean there is coordination between the silos. It requires the silos to create and share their plans together and to make reasonable commitments to completion times.

The Impact

In a migration effort, virtually all the planning and resourcing must occur before real migration activities occur. During the migration interval of about two months, there will be 24 times the normal activity load. Even with supplemental staffing and external resources, there will not be adequate staff time to be doing simultaneous planning. Most planning must be done in advance of the first physical moving of active equipment.

In any sizable migration, Murphy’s Law will be show at some point. It is almost always in the middle of a long night when your staff will not be at its sharpest. Planning in advance let’s you reserve your staff’s mental capacity for resolving glitches.

How to Keep Your Data Center Migration Schedule On Track

If your IT department has been operating in the Confederation model; it may be a good time to consider converting to the Union model. If you do not wish to convert permanently, you should allow your migration leadership or consultants to use the Union model within the project. If you’re silo leads are not capable of creating and sharing plan in advance, you will need to add support for them to avoid migration schedule slip. It has been our experience that, once your silos get used to the Union model, it will continue to produce beneficial fruits long after the migration is complete.