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What is a data center migration?

data center migration is the process of moving select assets from one data center environment to another. It is also referred to as a data center relocation.

There are numerous reasons for why an organization may need to relocate a data center, from an organizational expansion, a company merger, regulatory requirements, to an office move or a move to a cloud.

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Data center migration best practices

To ensure a smooth transition from your existing computing environment to a new one, follow the best practices in this data center migration checklist:

  • Identify the business case for migrating your existing data center to a new one. While the situation will vary depending on your organization, migrating company data to a more modernized platform allows a company to more efficiently scale, remain competitive, diminish security risks and enhance customer relationships.
  • Get buy-in on the migration project from your stakeholders, who will need to approve the recommended migration plan and align with the project goals. 
  • Assign data center migration roles and responsibilities. by Recruiting key department figures within your company to inform and support the project as it moves forward. Tap internal technical experts to also work on each phase of the project. 
  • Assess your data center’s asset portfolio to identify the dependencies and technical requirements for transferring specific data and applications. 
  • Define the architecture and design requirements of the migration process while also specifying the testing process and the method for transitioning to the new system.
  • Plan the migration in batches. Prepare subsets of data and then test each category of data one at a time. If the project is vast, several categories can be tested in parallel. 
  • Manage staff schedules and workflow to ensure minimal impact to business operations when it is time to shut down the source system and execute the migration.
  • Review audit trails and logs to be sure that the data has been correctly migrated.
  • Determine potential ongoing improvements and monitor the data quality of the new system.

What does it mean to migrate data?

There are three related concepts when it comes to migrating data: 

  • Datacenter migration refers to migrating an entire data center to a new computing environment. 
  • Application migration refers to migrating one or more applications from one computing environment to another. 
  • Data migration refers to migrating specific sets of data from one storage system to another. 

Each concept has specific use cases and reasons for implementing, plus specific requirements and challenges to consider. 

What are data center migration tools?

Data center migration tools are used for minimizing risk, reducing downtime and streamlining and accelerating the process of a data center migration. An enterprise’s migration requirements and business circumstances will determine which tool is best suited for its needs. 

Generally, effective data center migration tools include:

  • A single pane of glass management setup to ensure a unified and connected view of the many disparate elements within a complicated migration project.
  • The technical capabilities to ensure minimal downtime and to protect network performance.

How to plan for a successful data center migration

A data center migration project plan should begin with cataloguing existing assets that need to be moved, or if necessary, retired. This critical discovery phase can either be done manually or automated using a third-party software tool. 

Regardless of the data center migration methodology that an organization uses, the goal is to identify application requirements and to map a migration plan. A successful data center migration will be compatible with existing applications and meet the future needs of the enterprise’s workload. 

The following are key areas to include in assessing an existing data center that is being considered for migration: 

  • Contractual obligations: Review any terms and conditions associated with the data center you are leaving, including termination clauses. 
  • Hardware inventory: Include the physical servers and infrastructure equipment you need to move or replace. 
  • Communications inventory: Include all non-tangible network resources and configurations that need to be moved, replaced, or retired as part of the migration. Resources might include IP information, Internet networks, Telco lines, domain names and contact information associated with leased resources.
  • Applications inventory: Identify all applications running on data center hardware and the physical or logical machines they are running on, as well as any outside servers that communicate with that hardware or the communication resources. The application inventory provides a map of how interconnected your data center is, both inside and outside of the organization.

Once you’ve assessed the current environment, the next step is to decide the optimal place to migrate to. When deciding on the best solution for a data center migration, there are various solutions to consider, based on an organization’s needs:  

  • Cloud: A diverse cloud portfolio can help simplify IT management and enhance performance. Increasingly, businesses are opting for a mixture of cloud and on-premises solutions through hybrid cloud and multi-cloud deployments.
  • Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI): HCI allows for easier scalability and efficiency. The platform integrates multiple components into one unit and comes preconfigured for fast deployment. This infrastructure takes the complexity out of scaling, repairing or replacing parts of the system.
  • In-house storage: Migrating to a modernized but traditional data center keeps sensitive data on site, providing greater control over assets but limiting or omitting third-party involvement. An organization can grow and optimize with platforms that can run the latest workloads. This route can also work with private clouds.


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