Data center relocations are inherently risky—data, systems operation, revenue, or uptime could all be compromised. That’s why working with experienced IT consultants is extremely important.

We’ve managed many data center relocations over our 35 years in business, and we’ve seen contingencies that some organizations may never consider. Before starting a data center relocation, here are three important questions to ask yourself:

  1. What’s the current infrastructure inventory of your data center? A thorough inventory of your software, hardware, servers, storage and networking equipment will help determine the key services your data center provides. It will also allow you to establish business priorities and planning and budgeting constraints of your data center relocation. You’ll want to compile your findings into your inventory for a comprehensive source of data center information that’s readily available for future analysis and reference. You should also interview key data center management personnel and line-of-business management to identify key business and technical requirements.
  1. What’s the data center relocation impact on your business? Every data center move presents risks, and any interruption to your business could ultimately affect your bottom line. Accordingly, you should thoroughly analyze and document the impact on your business. At this stage, you’ll analyze the information you collected to prioritize business services, establish downtime—if necessary—and determine the hardware, application, and technology requirements. You should also define and analyze potential risks and prepare contingency plans to mitigate possible problems. Armed with this data, you can then begin to architect several migration options and select the comprehensive solution that best addresses your business and technical requirements.
  1. Have you conducted an in-depth risk analysis? Armed with a migration plan, you now need to assemble all previously collected data and documentation into an inclusive Data Center Migration Plan that includes an in-depth risk analysis. Consider floor layouts and rack diagrams, outline the exact tasks needed to complete the relocation, and chart the migration priorities. Your data center likely contains complex interdependencies between business-critical applications and assets, so you need to include detailed dependency mappings of your data center as part of your risk analysis.

This will help you minimize downtime and disruption so you can keep your business running smoothly without endangering your business-critical data and applications.

The answers to these questions provide much of the information you need to conduct a data center relocation. When you’re ready, be sure to factor in existing plans with your current facility and installation plans with your target facility to help make your transition smooth and efficient.