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Six Steps to a Successful Data Center Relocation


Inside modern data center
Before relocating your data center you should take these 6 steps.

Introducing

Whether managing a large corporation or a small business, orchestrating a data center relocation is a significant undertaking. The lead time for such a move can span several months to over a year. This blog post outlines six critical steps for a successful data center relocation. Before delving into these steps, let’s clarify some foundational concepts.


Understanding Data Center Relocation

The terms data center relocation and data center migration are often used interchangeably, though they refer to different processes.

  • Relocation: Involves physically moving existing data center equipment to a new site, which might include:

  • Transferring to a new data center facility.

  • Shifting equipment to a colocation facility.

  • Moving assets within the same building, such as from one floor to another.

  • Migration: Refers to the process of transferring data between systems or storage devices, which can occur irrespective of physical location. Examples include:

  • Migrating applications or services to cloud environments.

  • Moving workloads and data to a hybrid IT model, incorporating new data center spaces, edge racks, and cloud solutions.


Types of Data Centers

Data centers can range from small server rooms to expansive facilities spread across multiple geographic locations. Despite their size variations, they all represent critical business assets where companies deploy the latest technologies in networking, compute, and storage.

  • Enterprise Data Centers: Built and operated by a single organization for its internal use.

  • Colocation Data Centers: Provide rentable space and resources for multiple tenants.

  • Managed Service Data Centers: Offer data storage, computing, and other services as third-party providers.

  • Cloud Data Centers: Distributed infrastructure often managed by third-party service providers.

  • Immersion Cooling Data Centers: Utilize a cooling technique where IT equipment is submerged in a thermally conductive, dielectric liquid. This advanced cooling method significantly enhances energy efficiency and equipment performance, making it an increasingly popular choice for modern data centers.


The Significance of Data Center Relocation

A data center relocation can yield numerous benefits for organizations:

  • Enhanced Return on Investment (ROI): Optimizes resource utilization to reduce operating expenses.

  • Increased Resource Capacity: Facilitates the development of a more scalable data center.

  • Reduced Disruption: Creates a flexible environment that adapts to new technologies with minimal disruption.

  • Extended Infrastructure Lifespan: Extends the longevity and ROI of existing IT assets.

  • Improved Security and Compliance: Allows organizations to choose a data center model that best suits their security and regulatory needs.

  • Enhanced Efficiency: Leveraging advanced techniques such as immersion cooling can further optimize operational efficiency and reduce costs.


Six Steps for a Successful Data Center Relocation

Step One: Comprehensive Early Planning

Thorough planning is the cornerstone of a successful data center relocation. Allocate substantial time and resources to planning, anticipating potential issues, and developing contingency strategies.

  • Understanding Relationships: Identify the interdependencies among hardware, software, business processes, and personnel.

  • Defining Scope: Clearly outline the scope of your relocation, whether it involves:

  • Traditional: Moving from one physical site to another.

  • Cloud: Transitioning to a private or public cloud service.

  • Hybrid: Combining cloud services with on-premises servers.


Step Two: Clear Communication of the Relocation Purpose

Effective communication is vital to ensure organizational commitment to the move. Despite IT management typically being centralized, maximum uptime is essential across all business functions.

  • Articulating Vision: Senior leadership should clearly communicate the rationale behind the relocation.

  • Securing Buy-in: Early and transparent communication keeps employees engaged and informed throughout the project.

  • Balancing Priorities: Leadership should mediate conflicting priorities and provide guidance on timing.


Step Three: Assigning Qualified Resources

The technical project manager plays a pivotal role in the relocation process, requiring expertise in logistics, budgeting, risk management, communication, and team coordination.

  • Selecting a Project Manager: Appoint a capable project manager or a team of leads.

  • Considering External Assistance: If internal resources are insufficient, consider outsourcing parts of the project.

  • Informing Vendors: Notify hardware vendors in advance to leverage special procedures or resources.


Step Four: Conducting a Thorough Audit

With a comprehensive plan in place, the next step is to perform a detailed site audit.

  • Equipment Assessment: Evaluate the current infrastructure, identifying mission-critical systems.

  • Mapping Dependencies: Document dependencies among equipment to understand their interrelations.

  • Upgrading as Needed: Determine which equipment needs upgrading, decommissioning, or replacement.


Step Five: Choosing the Appropriate Relocation Method

Selecting the most suitable relocation method is crucial. Options include Physical to Physical, Physical to Virtual, Virtual to Virtual, Physical to Cloud, and Virtual to Cloud.

  • Green-field Approach: Deploy all new hardware for existing workloads.

  • Swing Hardware Strategy: Use interim hardware to control costs and minimize waste.

  • Rent and Replace: Rent equipment temporarily while transitioning to new infrastructure.


Step Six: Documenting and Testing

Comprehensive documentation and rigorous testing are essential. Test the setup in the current environment before the actual move to ensure everything functions correctly.

  • Tagging Equipment: Label each item with serial numbers and warranty details.

  • Reviewing Contracts: Verify warranties for move clauses and notify vendors of the relocation.

  • Final Testing: Once in the new location, conduct thorough testing to confirm proper installation and operation.


Conclusion

Whether relocating a few racks or an entire data center, collaborating with experienced consultants is crucial. At Gold Chip Data, we employ proven processes, techniques, and tools developed through years of successful data center migrations.


Recap of the Six Steps to a Successful Data Center Relocation:

  1. Comprehensive Early Planning

  2. Clear Communication of the Relocation Purpose

  3. Assigning Qualified Resources

  4. Conducting a Thorough Audit

  5. Choosing the Appropriate Relocation Method

  6. Documenting and Testing

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