8 Do's and Don'ts for Successful Data Center Migrations
November 22, 2017

A data center migration is any movement of data center assets from one location to another. Examples include moving to a new data center, moving to a colocation facility, moving from one room or floor to another within the same data center, and transitioning applications and services to a hybrid/cloud environment. Regardless of the type of move, data center migrations require careful planning and efficient execution. Follow these best practices to ensure a successful move.


Do Appoint a Manager

In addition to data center managers and operators, IT teams, facilities teams, network engineering teams, server teams, and infrastructure teams all may be involved during the migration. A leader is necessary to divide roles and responsibilities, ensure accountability, and serve as the main point of contact.


Don’t Overplan

Instead of worrying about every little item, focus on what matters at the appropriate level of detail. Determine what information is needed to complete the move successfully and make sure it is provided to your stakeholders. Leverage Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software as a planning tool.


Do Create a Virtual Model of the New Data Center

Creating a virtual model of your new data center environment can help make sure that everyone is on the same page. It enables the teams involved to align on where everything will go and to ensure that each asset has sufficient space, power, and network capacity. Moving assets virtually is much easier than moving them physically. A virtual model can also uncover potential issues that may be addressed and prevented prior to moving. Look at the infrastructure design to mitigate any issues and plan ahead.


Don’t Overlook Power Capacity

In a data center move, space is an obvious limiting factor. However, neglecting power can create problems down the line. Knowing what you plan to move and understanding how your assets are connected, along with estimates based on budgeted and actual power readings, will help determine your space and power needs. Determine if your IT deployment aligns with the power capacity designed for each rack.


Do Install Hardware Beforehand

Installing hardware before your data center migration will save time during the actual move and allow you to familiarize yourself with the new space. Installing rail kits, blanking panels, door locks, and card readers can even help to prevent incorrect installations and unauthorized access.


Don’t Forget to Label Equipment

Your labeling system is one of the most critical elements of your data center migration. When your equipment and cabling are not clearly and correctly labeled, you run the risk of hardware being installed improperly, the wrong cables being used, and incorrect connections being made. The key to an effective labeling system is that it should be easily understood by all parties involved to avoid confusion.


Do Use a Work Order for Every IT Asset

Work orders can be used to plan, schedule, request, and report on the construction, repair, maintenance, and decommissioning of data center assets. They can be managed electronically and be physically printed and attached to the assets in a data center migration to save time and reduce the chances of incorrect installation. DCIM software with change management can accelerate work order creation and tracking.


Don’t Cut Corners on Post-Migration Testing

After the move, it may seem like all your hardware is in place, but you won’t know that it’s all working as intended if it’s not tested. Complete the system testing per the manager’s move plan to ensure that all devices and applications have been successfully migrated. The Network Operations Center (NOC) team also should be seeing polled power data and system back online.

Data center migrations require planning and efficiency. By following these tips and using DCIM software, these transitions can run as smoothly as possible.  Make sure you have thought about things such as an organized leader, harboring enough space and power, and using work orders to maximize potential during your move.


With so many moving parts and people involved, it’s easy for key tasks and minute details to be overlooked. Download Sunbird’s Data Center Migration Checklist to plan a successful transition—before, during, and after the migration.

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