If you’ve got more than a rack or two in your data center or computer room, a data center migration is rife with risk. Who wants to lie awake in the weeks before the migration wondering if they’ve missed something? Will everything go smoothly? Did I make the right choices for services companies, infrastructure upgrades, network service providers, etc.?
In a nutshell, planning and perspective are good critical as data center managers when it’s time to complete a migration (or consolidation) of data center assets. Planning and perspective allow you to take a step back and make sure your approach holds water, allow you to check with peers in the industry for accepted best practices, and allow you to keep your job when the migration goes smoothly.
Critical Considerations in Preparation for a Data Center Migration include:
- Think About the Layout. Flow through a data center is critical to develop efficiencies. Flow includes power from utility through distribution to feeders to PDUs as well as battery backup and utility backup (generators) and is driven by a coherent data center design. In addition to power, think about network connectivity from the ingress at the street through to the network core. Also, how will data flow from core to distribution to access out to server/storage assets. A simple rule of thumb: Firewalls, DMZs, and network termination equipment should all be located close to the network entrance and/or network rack.
- Plan for Growth. It isn’t enough to plan for growth within today’s paradigm and technology. Rather, if at all possible, it’s critical to consider the next two life cycles in technology. This means performing research on expected future rack power requirements as well as the data center key design criteria for today and 2-3 years into the future. Who would have thought 5 kW of redundant power at the rack may not be enough now if you’re organization is planning to roll out blade server cabinets? Don’t get caught having to migrate yet again.
- Plan the Cable Plant. Cabling architecture is the backbone of the data center network infrastructure. Careful planning and consideration is important when deciding on a data center cabling architecture. Key concerns are scalability, flexibility, manageability, availability, and total cost. Therefore, it is critical to plan in advance, leave space for core switches and future growth for the core and distribution switches and cable plan. Also, particularly if you are using a raised floor approach, deploy your cabinets, pull fiber to the cabinets, and run branch circuits for power. The incremental cost of the fiber and power cables waiting for use is minimal, you already have the labor onsite, and who wants an invasive change or upgrade several years down the road.
- Confirm the Asset Inventory.A data center migration gives you the opportunity to “clean out your attic”. Like moving between homes, you shouldn’t migrate or relocate assets that are decommissioned or not in the data center inventory list. Assets should be in the your Configuration Management Database (CMDB) including owner, department, business processes, applications, and dependencies. In fact, all data center assets should be tracked and maintained before the migration and after it takes place.
- Develop a Complete Relocation Plan. The final step in the data center migration is the relocation itself. Data Center relocations are expensive and require specific expertise and experience. Elements of a solid relocation plan include: Pre-planning and project management, pre-move site preparation, move plan creation, and post-move reviews.