In every growing business there is a moment when the data they’re collecting, analyzing, and using on a regular basis grows beyond their ability to manage it. It could be because they need greater connectivity, greater storage, or the ability to integrate new and cutting-edge applications into their data system.
Whatever the reason, data center migration can seem like a daunting task, with horror stories of months-long data migrations that cause downtime, delay, and waste.
Fortunately, data center migration doesn’t have to be this way. At Transpere, we’re experts at ensuring that every data center migration we manage is smooth, efficient, and results in a much better data solution than what a business had previously. Whether it’s migrating from one location to another or moving your data center to the cloud for the first time, here are all the basics you need to know about a successful data center migration plan.
What is Data Center Migration?
A data center migration is any process that involves moving an existing data center to a new location. In this case of data center migration, the word ‘location’ is used loosely— in some cases, it means a new physical data center. In others, it means migrating from a physical onsite data center architecture to a cloud-based data storage system.
Common Reasons for Data Center Migration
There are plenty of reasons why a data center migration may be the perfect move to help your business scale up its data management or simply take advantage of the latest advances in cloud-based data center technology, and each business will have its own reasons for making the shift. That said, here are some of the most common motivations companies may want to consider for taking the plunge on a data center migration— and how they can transform businesses for the better without a dramatic upfront investment in time or resources.
By moving your data to a new environment or system that’s more in line with modern technology, you’ll be able to make your systems and data more fully integrated with the latest software, hardware, and architectures. While this approach may come with a bit of a time investment and additional training, migrating your data centers to a more modern architecture will allow you to take advantage of the most cutting edge technology available and make your business more efficient.
Avoid Data Center Overload
When you’re dependent on a single data center, you’re limited by what that one data center is capable of taking on when it comes to concurrent traffic. By moving some of your data, applications, and other resources to additional data centers or into the cloud, you can spread out data center usage and help reduce the load on any one center. This will not only help avoid slowdowns, latency, and other problems, but will help avoid devastating setbacks such as overloads or data loss.
Make Networks More Resilient
The more your data is spread across multiple environments, the more resilient your network will be thanks to the avoidance of having a single point of potential failure. Not only does this help ensure that an instance of data loss, power failure, or other unexpected event won’t lead to irreparable damage, it also means that you’re less exposed to devastating data leaks or cyber attacks. Copying your primary production environment to a new location through data center migration can help mitigate a great deal of risk.
Make Networks More Resilient
Traditional data centers are relatively expensive and high-maintenance, requiring a great deal of ongoing costs when it comes to powering them, upgrading them, and handling a range of other operating expenses and capital expenditures. But upon moving to a cloud-based data center model, businesses find that maintenance and other costs virtually disappear. Their monthly data center spend becomes not only smaller but much more predictable when it comes to budgeting.
Cloud-based data centers are much more easily scalable than their traditional counterparts. When dealing with an onsite data center, any increase in scale requires an increase in physical real estate and equipment. You need more internet bandwidth, more devices, and more space. Meanwhile, pinpointing exactly how much to expand is a unique challenge— invest too much, and you have waste. Invest too little, and you can’t meet the data demands of your business and experience bottlenecks, reduced productivity, and frustration.
By migrating to a cloud-based data center, scalability becomes flexible and adaptable from one period to the next. Need more space? Scale up seamlessly. Need less? Scale down. It’s a much more simple process than upgrading or downgrading physical data center needs.
Data Center Migration Steps
Develop a Data Center Migration Plan
You should always begin the process of data center migration with an explicit plan in place. It should include your goals for data migration, your start date and projected end date, general resources you may need, and any potential roadblocks you may experience along the way. This will help you stay on track as the process of data migration goes on and unexpected delays pop up along the way.
Employ a Data Center Migration Services Expert
One of the best decisions in data center migration is partnering with experts to get the job done. Data professionals like those here at Transpere have managed hundreds of data center migrations or more, and can help avoid all of the pitfalls that many businesses experience over the course of a migration.
Determine Your Budget
Decide on a general budget before you begin the process of data center migration, then outline how it will be allocated to specific areas. While you may adjust the budget along the way, starting with a financial plan in mind will help you stay away from exorbitant costs and motivate you to stay on-track with both your budget and your timeline.
Establish a Timeline
Just as important as your data migration budget is your timeline. There are ideal and less-than-ideal times to begin and end a data migration for your business, and you’ll want to coordinate with key stakeholders at your organization to determine the best timeline for making the change. For example, you may not want to begin a data center migration right as your company is undergoing a major organizational restructuring. Data migrations can take time and a great deal of organization— make sure they will have the proper space and attention at your business.
Select the Destination
Where will you be migrating your data to at the end of this process? For some businesses, this will mean moving from one onsite data center to another. For others, it will mean migrating their data to the cloud for a more modern data management solution. Whatever your data destination, ensure that it’s clear for all involved in the data migration process from the beginning.
Select the Destination
Craftspeople of all backgrounds love the saying, “Measure twice, cut once.” It also applies to data center migration. Reviewing every step of your process before you begin is much better and less potentially wasteful than running into problems midway through and having to adjust your approach. Always take the time to review your plan for data center migration before beginning, and bring in experts and 3rd party opinions if you need a fresh perspective.
Now that you’ve made your plan, reviewed it, and put everything in place to get the job done, it’s time to begin your data center migration in earnest.
Tips for Successful Data Center Migration Planning
Beyond the data center migration steps outlined above, there are also some additional steps that can help along the way for your data center migration planning. Here are five of our top tips for making sure that your data center migration plan goes smoothly from start to finish, all while saving you money along the way.
Trust the Experts
Some businesses mistakenly believe that a data migration is as straightforward as unplugging some hardware and carting it to a truck before driving it to a new location and plugging it back in. But data server hardware and software are delicate, and if not handled by experienced data migration experts, it can be damaged along the way due to a range of factors— from exposure to magnets to rough handling along the way.
Third-party data center migration experts can help ensure that the entire process is smooth and error-free, helping reduce risk and unnecessary costs while making your data migration as quick and efficient as possible.
Determine Equipment Needs in Advance
If you’re moving from one physical data center to another, ensure that the equipment at the new site will meet your needs before beginning the migration.
One of the prime reasons for a data migration is to take advantage of more modern technology. Make sure that your new data center location is equipped with cutting-edge tech if this is one of your prime directives. No business wants to go through the trouble of a data center migration only to find that they’ve moved from one out-of-date environment to another that’s equally out-of-date.
Verify All Information & Requirements
A company’s data is one of its most prized resources these days. With that in mind, you should consider a data migration akin to transferring a truck full of cash from one place to another. Never make any assumptions about how everything will simply come together. Every aspect of your data center migration plan should be made explicit and verified along the way. Everything from available power ports to electricity costs should be taken into account— even the size of the truck if you’re moving your data center to a new physical location rather than to the cloud.
This all makes the data center migration planning phase essential. A company without clearly outlined data center migration steps before the process begins can expect to experience delays, failures, and unnecessary downtime— as well as unnecessary costs.
Plan to Avoid Downtime During Migration
Downtime is the enemy of any company seeking to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. One of the best ways to accomplish both is by planning ahead to reduce downtime as much as possible during your data center migration, if not eliminate it entirely.
Keep in mind that the average cloud provider can take weeks to activate new network services, so you don’t want to move your entire data system to a new destination only to discover that you won’t have a network to run it for days or even weeks.
Some businesses fear the possibility of paying for service at two locations simultaneously, but in most cases this additional cost will be far outweighed by the savings that result from your business running seamlessly without any downtime during the transition from one data center to another.
Properly Decommission Your Previous Data Center
No data center migration or relocation is complete without properly decommissioning the previous data center that is no longer in use. Data center decommissioning is a serious security matter, and should be managed with all of the care of the data migration itself.
Your best bet is to partner with a company that’s equipped for both data center migration and decommissioning, such as Transpere. We’ll be able to help you plan your migration and decommissioning, minimize impact to your business, stay on-schedule and on-budget, and keep all of your data secure throughout the process.
Want to learn more about why Transpere is one of the most trusted data center migration partners in the industry? Contact us today!
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