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How to Plan and Carry Out Data Center Migration

Data center migration becomes imperative for many organizations for a number of reasons. Such migrations may become necessary because of the need to consolidate data center facilities following mergers. Migrations may be needed for an expansion, or for situations when leases terminate, or because of regulatory requirements, or even for adopting the cloud.

There may be various causes leading to data center migrations but every such migration will need to follow a definite strategy. There has to be a proper map and inventory of every asset a data center owns in order to move these, replace these or completely do away with these. The data center inventory is therefore the road map for actions which need to be performed to close down one data center and relocate it. You can compile the data center inventory by using software like BMC Discovery.

Whether you use a third party plan or manually create your own DC checklist, below are the factors which must be looked into:

– Before you shift the data center assets, you need to review whatever existing contractual obligations you may still have with the one you are using. This includes penalties and termination clauses which must be respected; these will state all the duties which you need to perform before you can migrate a data center.

– The hardware inventory will identify the infrastructure equipments and servers which you must replace and those which you must move. This also includes all data center network components like routers, firewalls, printers, switches, desktops, web server farms, UPS systems, edge servers, modems, load balancing hardware, backup devices and power distribution units. These components have to be enlisted together with their appropriate manufacturer names and model numbers, operating system versions, IP details like the IP addresses used, gateway, subnet, relevant equipment-specific details, power needs such as wattage, IO voltage, kinds of electrical connectors etc.

– Besides the hardware inventory, there should be a communications inventory too which will cover non-tangible resources. These must be moved or replaced or retired when data center migration takes place. Here, you will need items like the Internet (class A, B or C) networks and where these were obtained from, internal IP addresses which the data center used, telecommunication lines, domain names, registrars for each IP address, DHCP IP reservations for specific data center and subnet equipments, firewall ACLs or Access Control Lists, contract information about leased resources which states the expiry dates for such contracts, termination procedures etc. Just like the inventory for hardware this inventory may have some surprises in store like IP addresses which the existing data center owns or telecom lines which are going to be valid for many more years according to their contracts or severe penalties for contract terminations etc which you need to be aware of.

– When you have made an inventory for the hardware and communications items you need to identify all those applications which run in the data center. These will include the core network applications like print servers and files, support services like WSUS servers or Windows Server Update Services which offer patches to the client devices, and third party servers which will update client software like anti-virus software, and email servers and databases, FTP servers and web servers, backup servers etc. You will need to include production applications in this list too and these are the ones which run the business like ERP CRM software, Big Data servers, business intelligence etc. You application inventory will also have list of servers and applications in data centers owned by third parties which are communicating with those in the current data center, PC applications which interact with data center applications, business partners that access these applications and network through firewalls in the existing data center. Other include email hosting providers and apps used by email filtering services, and IP addresses which such entities may have used for contacting applications in your data center. So, this application inventory will reveal how well the data center is connected both within and outside the organization.

Do, the DC inventory is of utmost value when it comes to data center migration. It outlines all the things you need to do to successfully execute a shift to another physical or virtual data center. It works like a documentation of the entire network infrastructure which is responsible for powering your organization and the application connections which are dependent on such infrastructure. Using this information, you may create an effective strategy that will tell you how to move data centers. It can also help you to identify and prepare for risks that your organization can face when there is a data center migration.

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