Data Center Relocation and Migration Pitfalls

Article by Nilesh Rane



CIOs embarking on DC consolidation and migration are faced with relocation challenges such as operational disruption.
Mandar Kulkarni, Senior Vice President, Netmagic Solutions highlights common pitfalls to avoid.

According to a recently published Data Center survey report, over 30% of organizations across the globe plan to migrate or expand their data centers within the next 3 years. Today, an optimally functioning Data Center is not a good-to-have. It is business critical.

Chances are that your organizations data center is not adequate in some way. Either it is growing out-of-capacity, compute requirements, operationally exorbitant, outdated or simply doesn’t match up to the growth of the organization. Most Data Centers in India are over 5-7 years old and are not designed for power and cooling needs of today, are running out of space or performance, and their total cost of ownership is almost surpassing the growth in business revenues.

DC migration and consolidation is an uncomfortable truth for most of these Data Center Managers or CIOs. This is when one thinks about how this can be planned and executed with least disruptions, at lowest costs and resulting in increased performance, cost efficiency and reliability and scalability that most data centers should have.

Unplanned DC relocation and migration exercise done without help of experts run into risky waters resulting in cost issues to downtimes and business loss or complete blackout. This blog will detail the most common DC relocation and migration pitfalls to avoid.

Common Pitfalls and Challenges of DC Relocation and Migration

Infrastructure Complexity

When DC managers look at relocation and migration of DC, the first challenge that they will face is the complexity of the infrastructure itself. From legacy applications and systems that need to move, all the back-end attachments, lack of documented inventory is all going to hit you hard.

Lack of adequate planning

“Inadequate planning is planning to fail”. Underestimation during the planning phase – from complexity to servers to time of project to skills required – all can affect the final result of DC relocation and migration. Poor planning can lead to extended outage, damage to equipment, and all kinds of other problems. Most organizations venturing into a migration exercise do not create detailed plans, designate responsibility or assign tasks.

Lack of pre-migration baselines

“You cannot improve what you cannot measure”. It is a common pitfall to not identify and establish success of migration exercise. Lack of proper understanding of current performance, space and business alignment baselines of the current setup will always end up with inadequate results in the new DC.

Migration of inadequacies and inefficiencies

Lack of understanding of the current DC and business need for the DC migration will end up in migrating all inadequacies and inefficiencies into the new DC.

Failure to inventory everything

“What you don’t know will hurt you”. A typical pitfall that many organizations lack the knowledge of what the starting point is. This is due to lack of inventory of everything – from applications, links, ports, cables and devices, external connectivity, etc.

Lack of design

“Assumption is the mother of all failures”. Most organizations taking on a migration exercise do not create detailed designs that will checklist essential items such as space, power and cooling, etc.

Lack of a detailed view into things

“Devil is in the details”. Most applications and back-end databases will have some hardwired IP addresses or domain names that are probably not taken into consideration during migration planning – resulting in application failures or declining performance of applications. It is almost impossible to identify all the interdependencies in a heterogeneous environments that most organizations run today where most applications and infrastructures are characterized by customization, bolt-ons, homegrown systems, etc.

Failure to identify and manage risks

Most failed migrations or relocations will have this pitfall as a common point – organizations fail to identify risks and initiate an appropriate risk mitigation and management plan.

Poor execution

“What can go wrong, will go wrong”. Plans are perfect, design is ready, but it is not executed properly. The last mile is also the most important mile – many organizations rely on inexperienced movers that end up in a disaster.

Disruption of business operations

Most relocation and migration exercise breaks work schedules and disrupts business operations. Lack of taking users and business owners into confidence, clear understanding of critical business transaction times and not taking into the application process times are the key reasons.

Pre and post -migration testing

It is a common sight that post migration applications do not react the way they should. Most applications that organizations run have interdependencies that gets complex over the years.

In Conclusion

Many data center relocations and migrations fail due to lack of proper planning for common pitfalls and then results in disruption in business for longer than planned. In today’s dynamically changing marketplace and unpredictable economic climate, it is critical that data centers facilitate current business operations as well as provide for the future growth of the business. Avoiding the pitfalls will ensure success of the DC relocation and migration – a good way to prevent disaster.