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Data Center Migration Best Practices - Part 1

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

Whether your organization is looking to migrate services to the cloud or physically move to a new data center, migrating your infrastructure, data, and services is not for the faint of heart. It requires a tremendous amount of planning, resources, and energy to achieve the end result of a seamless move. In Part 1 of our 3-part series, Data Center Migration Best Practices, we’ll explore the very important, but sometimes overlooked, first phase of planning a flawless migration – Planning to Plan.

Moving data center services to any new location requires a significant amount of upfront planning. Even if the migration is strictly a physical move, i.e. moving your compute power from Point A to Point B, the potential impact to your organization’s business can’t be discounted. For that reason, it’s important to understand in totality what you are migrating and the expected results of that migration.

The goal of Planning to Plan is to provide all stakeholders, both business and IT, with as much information as possible to ensure everyone understands the end game before the move and what will be required at a high level to be successful. Depending on the magnitude of what is being moved, some of the resulting information will be an affirmation of the approach. However, when the goals of a migration are larger than just a physical move, i.e. technology modernization, performance, agility, etc., it’s important to gain consensus on the goals and how they will be achieved given the significant impacts they can have on your final budget.

Planning to plan means:

  • Assessing the current environment and gaining an understanding of the business services impacted and related business cycles, the full inventory / lifecycle of existing infrastructure, current performance levels, impacts of anticipated roadmaps, and any interdependencies that might exist.

  • Agreeing on guiding principles and success criteria. There is an obvious reason for the migration, however competing agendas may force their way into the original purpose and skew the best laid plans. Defining and documenting the guiding principles for the migration ensures decisions are based on agreed upon goals. Are you trying to achieve better performance, modernize your infrastructure or processes, are you trying to achieve greater automation, etc.? Whatever the expected results might be, they must be documented and communicated so all activities and outcomes align to that end.

  • Identifying all stakeholders, both business and IT. Even if the move is a physical one, not including business stakeholders who rely on those services in the migration planning is a mistake. They will be your greatest advocate and resource as the effort requires more of their help.

  • Identifying what’s changing and the impact of that change. This is especially important if technology changes require new skills, processes, and / or behaviors. Change management activities need to be factored into your overall migration plan and budget.

  • Creating a conceptual migration plan that includes high level timeline and milestones (based on what has been learned), resources, dependencies, and high-level forecast. The objective of the plan is to articulate what it will take to achieve the end goal and inform all stakeholders on the estimated commitment, resources, and budget required to complete. Having this context provides needed information to explore other possible alternatives and approaches if there are resource and / or budgetary concerns.

  • Finally, get agreement. If there are any concerns, objections, or challenges being set forth, now is the time to get them addressed and get everyone onboard.

The Planning to Plan phase will give your organization the confidence to make the best decisions possible based on the agreed upon principles and the anticipated commitment required.

Successful Data Center Migrations with Tsource

Tsource has been helping our commercial and government clients in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. maximize their potential, right-size their infrastructure, and achieve their business and technology goals since 2003. We've helped customers deliver faster leveraging an Agile approach, improved system availability and performance by modernizing their technology portfolio, and successfully matched hiring managers with great IT talent. Experience matters and with over 30+ years of IT experience in the most diverse and complex environments, we are passionate about helping our customers get the most out of their technology investments by providing them with cost-effective, right-sized solutions. Tsource is a ISO 9001:2015 certified Woman Owned Small Business delivering IT Solutions, Managed Services, and Staffing. If you are interested in working with us, contact us online or give us a call at 410-970-6669.

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