Best practices, resources, and tips for a successful migration
Whether you’re upgrading your on-premises data center, moving to the cloud, or implementing a hybrid-cloud strategy, the threat of business disruptions during the process can keep any IT team up at night. We can help.
On this page we’ve detailed tips and resources, highlighting the pitfalls to navigate and the best practices to help you manage a successful enterprise data center migration project.
Enterprises are creating and consuming data at an ever-expanding rate. The IDC Global DataSphere forecast predicts that in the next three years, the amount of data created will be more than in the previous 30 years and that from 2020-2025, the world will create more than three times the data than it did in the five years leading up to 2020. Perhaps it’s no surprise that following a decline during 2020, Gartner predicts data center spending will rebound, growing by 5.2% during 2021.
There are many reasons for migrating your enterprise data. Whether it’s to consolidate physical data centers following a series of mergers or acquisitions, take advantage of new applications or efficiencies such as cloud capabilities, or leverage greater capacity for strategic growth, the relocation of your company’s most precious asset needs careful thought.
With so many moving parts and interdependencies, planning a data center migration can take months. To be successful and minimize business interruption, the plan needs to include:
While 2020 saw investments in cloud infrastructure overtake on-prem spending for the first time, likely driven by the pandemic, many enterprises continue to invest in on-prem facilities. But what’s best for your enterprise? Here are your options:
This allows companies to move some workloads to the cloud to take advantage of scaling and cost efficiencies, while managing others on-prem to comply with governance policies.
Traditionally IT infrastructure managers don’t have ready access to a clear view of the assets across their enterprise, or the current or future demands of the business. Mergers, acquisitions, changes in focus and organizational structure have made that incredibly challenging, so you are going to have to rely on your tools, databases, and spreadsheets and people in the company to get that information.
For a successful data center migration, you’ll need:
The right information at the right time
Get to know your current physical and virtual asset requirements and future needs.
An extensive checklist: Including multiple plans, requirements applications and event dependencies, workflow steps, blackout dates and other relevant time constraints such as lease expirations, task owners, and the tools you’ll use.
Workflow execution and tracking: Showing how workflow changes and delays impact the step (or most likely) multiple steps down the line.
Analytics and reporting: It’s vital to keep an eye on progress and let stakeholders know what’s going on.
Avoid Over or Under Investing
Use your current and future needs to right-size investments.
Make the right move
Understand the data center models and CSPs that align with your requirements, the workloads that can go to the cloud and which need to stay on-prem.
Avoid Business Interruption
By understanding dependencies, which applications need to be tested and validated and what needs to be moved simultaneously. Make sure you have mitigation and rollback plans in place.
Cover Your Assets
Keeping data secure and available is key. Back up ahead of migration and have clear visibility of all your assets, talking regularly with stakeholders to sign-off tasks.
Don’t forget to validate success
Put a plan into place to validate with key personnel that all your critical applications are migrated successfully and keep all your stakeholders updated.
Stay on time and budget
With so many steps completed manually, this can be a huge challenge. Factor in all the resources you’ll need into your project plan and be aware that with so many moving parts, a delay at any stage can have huge impacts down the line.
Compile an inventory of your physical and virtual assets and current requirements, running reports and pulling information from tools, databases, and spreadsheets. Talk to key stakeholders and get to know your company’s governance and security policies (if you don’t know them already).
Understand future requirements to right-size your investment: Why are you moving? Use that as a starting point and factor in future growth demands, by talking to business leaders, before working out what hardware you need to replace.
Compile and clean up the information you have (there will be duplications) to define the data center model you should adopt.
Identify the locations or providers you want to move to using your current and future requirements: think about where you place your workloads, what locations you need to be in and which CSPs align most closely with your needs.
Analyze dependencies across all your components to develop a wave rollout plan using:
Create sub-plans to your project rollout plan including:
Get final sign-off from your business leads and tweak plans where necessary.
Run through lab simulations and execution scenarios with teams where you can.
At last! You can get your move underway. At this stage you’ll need to:
Make sure everyone knows their part in the rollout and that they are available. Check your equipment is where it needs to be and that you know when data needs to be backed up.
Be flexible: The best laid plans, etc. Make sure you can quickly implement mitigation plans if any issues occur.
Stay in contact with your project team and wider stakeholders to make sure every task is checked off and chase progress where required.
Create reports to communicate the project outcome with business leaders and other stakeholders.
Once the data center migration is complete you should monitor and optimize performance across your physical and virtual environment as an ongoing program to maintain costs and end user satisfaction. There are many factors that can lead to data center outages and they can be expensive, costing on average US$9,000 per minute. Any data breach can have far-reaching effects and changes in performance can impact critical users or business applications. To mitigate risks, focus on:
Your physical environment and status of any uninterrupted power supply (UPS) batteries to ensure changes don’t affect hardware.
Application usage and network traffic to identify anomalies that could signify security issues. While CSPs have stringent security in place you should be aware of any fluctuations that could signify a breach.
Weather patterns and environmental issues in data center locations.
Your hardware status across its lifecycle.
70 % of data center failure can be attributed to human error and can often be the culprit in cloud data breaches. Whether that’s mishandling equipment, missing steps in the maintenance process or not protecting equipment, servers, or firewalls correctly, if you are reliant on manual effort, you need to make sure everyone stringently follows the relevant processes.
“ReadyWorks made it possible for us to execute the migration ahead of schedule without major disruption. They also reduced the project management workload to the degree where we didn’t need any additional project management resources.”
Human error, and more broadly, the effort involved in managing a data center migration project manually, can often be the reason for a project running over time and budget. Issues begin at the data discovery phase. With many team members working from multiple static spreadsheets, data discovery takes time, and when complete, your source data is likely already old. Mistakes in equipment ordering, missed steps and the time it takes to chase up task completion can all impact project success.
ReadyWorks believes in applying intelligent automation to cut 50% of the repetitive manual tasks and reduce the time and effort associated with data center migration projects by: