Data Center Migration Success: Data Discovery Phase

Published on June 21, 2021 by

Andrew Sweeney

This is part 1 of a 4-part series on how to set up your data center migration for success. Here we go over the data discovery phase of a data center migration.

If you’re looking for the other steps in this journey, check out our other blog posts in the series:

Part 2: Planning
Part 3: Execution
Part 4: Optimization

If you are tasked with managing your enterprise data center migration project, nobody would blame you for feeling overwhelmed. Whatever you are considering – consolidating on-prem locations, adopting the public or private cloud, or a hybrid solution – any data migration project is a complex and risky process.

So how can you reduce those risks? One way is to conduct a thorough investigation during the discovery phase. Understanding your current infrastructure and application requirements, together with what your organization needs to achieve strategic goals, will allow you to successfully plan and make informed decisions throughout the entire project.

Step 1 – Inventory your Assets

First you need to understand what physical and virtual assets you currently have and what your asset and user requirements are including:

  • Details about physical assets such as servers, racks, networking, and circuits, including age, end-of-life or lease status and current capabilities.
  • Application information, including:
    • Whether they are current.
    • If they are no longer being used.
    • Where they are located and what their latency requirements are.
    • Who uses them and how those users are grouped.
    • Which ones are critical.
    • What data they are accessing, where that data is stored, and if it’s still required.

Start by pulling data from your tools including server management software, data center infrastructure management (DCIM) platforms, network monitoring and management software, IT infrastructure management packages, configuration management databases (CMDBs), Shadow IT discovery tools, cloud management tools and static spreadsheets. Once you have collated and cleaned that information you’ll need to investigate further:

  • Talk to key people in the organization, including hardware asset managers and data center owners – they probably have a spreadsheet or two that could help.
  • Business leaders and managers can provide insight around key applications and team usage.
  • Understand your company’s governance and security policies and how different types of data and applications must be treated.

Step 2 – Understanding Future Requirements

Once you know what you have, you need to understand your requirements. You aren’t going to be running this type of project on a regular basis, so you need to right-size data center facilities for foreseeable demands. Think about:

  • Why you’re moving. Is it to consolidate existing data centers? Move to the cloud? For greater availability or latency? Whatever the reason, add this information to your current requirements.
  • Talk to business leads to understand if there are any other upcoming plans that you don’t know of yet so you can right-size your project investment to cater for those needs.
  • Analyze your data to find out what equipment you should be replacing ahead of your move.


Step 3 – Consider Your Options

With all your data on current and future requirements at your fingertips – now’s the time to think about future data center capabilities. Take into consideration:

  • If your security and governance policies dictate that you need your own physical data center.
  • If you can move workloads to the public or private cloud and, if so, what workloads you can move.
  • Where do you need to locate your data – virtually or physically?
  • What physical locations suit your needs and which cloud service providers you want to consider?

Once you complete these steps, you’ll have the information you need to decide on and plan your data center migration. But be aware, if you’ve completed the discovery phase manually, it’s likely that your data won’t be as accurate as you’d like. It’s going to take the work of multiple team members many months to complete. By the time you’re done, the rate of business change will mean the information is already old. And that’s not including the oversights and errors that inevitably occur.

If you’re only ever working from static spreadsheets, you’re going to have to accept some margin for error. But what if you don’t have to? If you leverage automation to manage the discovery phase you can drastically reduce the time, headcount and effort throughout your data center project – including across the planning, execution and optimization phases.


Leverage Automation to Simplify Discovery

ReadyWorks automates 50% or more of tasks to shorten project timelines by at least 30% .  ReadyWorks connects to and orchestrates all your systems, tools, and databases. Using ReadyWorks during the discovery phase you can:

  • Access a real-time, holistic view of all your physical and virtual assets and their requirements.
  • Prioritize data sources to clean information automatically.
  • Automate communications and leverage a self-service portal to gather additional data on future requirements, application and team needs and more.
  • Access dependency maps that help you determine what workloads can be migrated to the cloud and which should stay on-prem.
  • Access customized views to simplify your decision-making process.

Up Next in our 4-part series: Data Center Migration Success: Planning

Ready to find out how ReadyWorks can cut the time and effort you spend on the discovery phase to ensure a successful data center migration? Schedule a demo today.