Back to blog Data Center Migration: Pitfalls and Best Practices

As with anything, there is the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of data center migration. In many situations, however, It is unavoidable. Maybe your company needs more storage space, or you are trying to avoid getting in trouble with a regulator. Whatever your reasons, if you have to go through data center migration, you may as well make it a good experience! We will walk you through the things to avoid in data center migration and the practices that can make it better. Of course, we are always here to help you with our migration and planning services.

Pitfalls of Data Center Migration

We will start with the bad news first. Data center migration is not necessarily easy. Or fun. Much like taking out the trash, it is something you simply have to do. It is important to know the pitfalls of data center migration, so you can hopefully avoid them in your planning. We will not leave you with problems without solutions, though. Every challenge is surmountable!

First off -- who is handling your data center migration? You need to have the right people for the job. Every part of your data center migration plan should have a well-suited team member attached. Your team members have to know and understand their roles within the migration and be ready to take action. This sets the tone for the entire process. Choose incorrectly, and your migration may be a stressful flop. Who on your staff knows what?

It can be uplifting to know something that nobody else does. It's not so good, however, when the person with key knowledge is missing and you are deep into your migration. To avoid this, make sure that knowledge is shared. Keep written notes, documents, and reports so that any authorized person can refer to them, educate themselves, and stay up to date. Data center migration can take longer and eat up more resources than you might expect.

If you estimate low, you will be sorely disappointed by reality. Understand the full impact of your migration, including its effects on your business operations. You will be impacting not only IT operations after all! Your customers will notice outages, for example, especially if they go on for longer than planned. Ready to hit go? Whoops -- you did not back up your data. This is a major concern for data center migration.

It might seem obvious, but one pitfall of migration is the potential for things to going wrong. Crossing your fingers is not a recognized way to ensure your data center migration goes smoothly. It may slow you down, but always back up your data, and make a rollback plan. Also, consider when you are going to use that plan, so you do not have to make the decision on the fly. Overall, one of the biggest pitfalls of data center migration is relying on assumptions to guide you. It is well worth investigating all aspects of your plan before you even touch a keyboard. Make sure your decisions are guided by facts and you will stay out of trouble.

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Best Practices for Data Center Migration

On to the happier news! Data center migration does not have to be painful, either. With the right practices, you can see a successful migration through.

One of your first steps should be to handle risk management. Discuss what risks are tolerable to your business, and what would bring you down completely. It is virtually impossible to migrate without any risk at all, but you can certainly mitigate it. The biggest issues you will encounter are data loss and downtime. Data loss can be addressed through careful backup procedures. Downtime is another story, but every company has an acceptable level.

Know when you should migrate. Not every time is the best time! If you experience a busy season, the last thing you want to do is drop downtime into the middle of it. The same goes for particularly heavy times of day or week. On the other hand, if you have a well-defined 'dead zone' you can maybe get away with a bit of downtime here if necessary. Data center migration is a time to make changes and upgrades that will impact your business. If you are already taking the system offline, you can go ahead and address your performance and reliability. You probably do not want to undertake any project that will seriously increase your risk or add to downtime. Still, if you have some minor work to do, roll it into your planning.

Make sure you have a baseline for how your system should operate before you migrate. When you complete the migration, this is what you will look at in your testing. Does your new data center act the same way as the old one? What needs to be brought up to speed? You cannot answer these questions unless you know your data center well. On to our last and, perhaps, most important tip for a great migration experience...

Tackle Data Center Migration with the Experts

Data center migration is complex. It will take you a good chunk of time to make your plan, let alone do the analysis that will inform the plan. Then you have to migrate, and test, and test again! Or, you could outsource your data center migration planning and process to the experts.

As a reputable and experienced third party, we would be happy to help you. You can think of us like the moving company, carefully packaging your belongings and trucking them off to your new home. We treat your data with the utmost care, because we understand how valuable it is! We will address all of the pitfalls we mentioned, and more, and always use the best practices for success. We are here to do the heavy lifting so you can focus on your regular business operations. Get in touch with us today to make your data center migration a lot easier.

Posted in Cloud Consulting, Managed Cloud on Apr 25, 2018