Data Center Migration Success: Planning

Published on June 22, 2021 by

Andrew Sweeney

This is part 2 of a 4-part series on how to set up your data center migration for success. Here we go over the planning phase of a data center migration

Any data center migration is going to be a costly and involved process. Thankfully, it’s not something that you’re going to have to tackle on a regular basis, but given the costs and potential for business disruption,  mistakes will not be received well by management. To reduce the risks, you need an iron–clad plan using information you’ve gathered at the discovery phase on your company’s current and future needs together with information about the types of data centers you can adopt.

With this information to hand, you’re ready to plan your migration:

Step 1 - Choose Your Destination

What does your future data center environment look like? You’ll have already defined how you need to proceed in the discovery phase. Whatever configurations you’ve decided on – physical company-owned resources, private or public cloud, or a hybrid mix, you need to decide where you place your data and who with. Think about the following:

  • What workloads you can move to the cloud and what needs to stay on-prem.
  • What equipment you need to replace going forward.
  • What space you need, whether in your own physical location or if you are co-locating equipment in a cloud provider’s facility.
  • What data and applications you need – is there anything you can remove ahead of the move?
  • Where you need to have a presence – this is particularly relevant if you have applications that depend on low-latency.
  • What cloud service providers align most closely with your company.

Once resources have been identified, you’ve gained approval from your leadership team, and agreements have been signed with cloud service providers (CSP’s) and landlords, you can work on your rollout plan.

Step 2 - Plan Your Move

Using your source data, now you need to schedule the timeline across the program – moving equipment, workloads, and teams to avoid issues such as service interruption. You need to:

  • Analyze your data and create charts that show dependencies – including applications, data, and equipment.
  • Take into consideration lead-times for delivery of any new hardware you are ordering.
  • Understand which teams’ data should move together – talk to business managers to find out more.
  • Find out blackout days when you shouldn’t schedule any moves – talk to business leads and managers for this information.
  • Talk to any third parties that you are working with, including the cloud service providers to find out their time constraints.

With this information you can start creating:

  • A rollout timeline using wave planning that takes into consideration all your dependencies, teams, and third-party timelines.
  • A mitigation plan including when backups need to be created and how rollbacks should be implemented in case of any issues.
  • A communications plan including how and when to communicate the program details to your wider organization, and who and when to contact to validate your rollout.
  • A validation plan, identifying key stakeholders that can confirm that each stage of your project is completed successfully.
  • A plan for cleaning and disposing old assets (incorporating this within your existing IT asset disposition (ITAD) or e-waste program).


Step 3 - Get Plan Approval

Now you need to confirm the details and get final sign-off on your overall plan and budget with your business leads before you can move ahead. That means going back and talking with them to confirm final arrangements and making tweaks to the plan where necessary.


Step 4 - Run Through Your Move

Ok, you can’t go through everything ahead of time, but if you have resources available you should think about:

  • Running test simulations in your lab environment, to see how critical applications react to the move.
  • Going through the checklist with the teams carrying out the move to make sure everyone is aware of what’s expected of them.

So now you are ready to roll out your plan. If you are already willing the project to end, that’s because it’s all you’ve been able to think about for months. Completed manually the discovery and planning phases of a data migration project can become all-consuming for many team members.

ReadyWorks uses automation to help you reduce pain, stress, and effort across the entire data center migration project, helping you build and execute better plans by:

  • Using intelligent analysis to provide dependency maps so you can better determine which workloads can be migrated to where and when they should be migrated.
  • Organizing systems and applications into migration waves to ensure you plan to move interdependent systems simultaneously.
  • Using automation to populate build sheets and task templates to make it easier for team members to communicate.
  • Providing you with a self-service portal that you can use for application owners to verify current and future needs.
  • Using templates that allow you to streamline the communications process.
  • Providing customized dashboards to share migration status with stakeholders across the project.

Up Next in our 4-part series on Data Center Migration Success: Execution. 

Ready to see how ReadyWorks can cut the time, effort, and stress of planning your data center migration? Schedule a demo today.