Taking the migraine out of DC migration

NEXTDC Limited

By Simon Cooper, Chief Operating Officer, NEXTDC
Monday, 05 September, 2016


Nextdc 9

Outsourcing a data centre service to a purpose-built facility offers greater efficiency, reliability and security. It also opens up new opportunities to connect with an ecosystem of other relevant service providers. If your business is looking to make the switch, this five-step guide to planning your move will help minimise business disruption.

Evaluate business goals. You need to be clear on why you’re making the move to an external data centre. Significant operational benefits include lower power bills, but outsourcing will also free up your business to focus on its core strengths and long-term goals. Before you plan a migration, be clear about your broader business goals and how they’ll be supported by your outsourcing strategy.

Map out risks. Large-scale data migration is a complex project and even with detailed planning there will be unforeseen circumstances to deal with. Listing every potential risk, whether it’s great or small, gives you the opportunity to put plans in place. This might involve having temporary equipment on standby, shifting workflows elsewhere or deciding how you’ll manage unplanned downtime. You want the move to have minimal impact on customers and employees, so identify high-risk applications and crucial systems that need to be kept up and running.

Communicate with stakeholders. Determine how the move will affect customers, staff, business partners and any other internal or external stakeholders so you can communicate potential issues well in advance. This gives them the opportunity to do their own planning and make sure they’re not negatively affected by any nasty surprises. When moving critical infrastructure and applications, it’s important that all stakeholders are well informed about the process, expected time frames and contingency plans. You should also plan to get rapid support from suppliers.

Consider logistics. Moving internal infrastructure to a new data centre is a significant project, so you need to be prepared for the logistics involved. This could mean ensuring equipment is packed properly to avoid damage or labelling it clearly. Make sure you’re aware of the layout of the new data centre and find out if it offers any support services that will help you migrate. For example, does it provide space to test your equipment once on-site or installation services that will get your infrastructure into the data hall?

Design for improvement. There’s no point shifting to an external data centre if everything is set up the same way. Decide on the improvements you want to gain, whether it’s reduced rack space or better interconnection. Design the new set-up to achieve these goals, bearing in mind any future capability or flexibility you need.

Migrating to a co-location data centre will deliver significant benefits, but it can be a high-risk and challenging project if not planned effectively. To ensure a successful move, plan everything well in advance from physically moving infrastructure to communicating with providers and customers.

Simon Cooper directs NEXTDC’s data centre design, construction, operations and business framework functions. He has extensive leadership experience in the international IT and telecoms industry, and was previously based in Singapore as Senior Vice President at Tata Communications, responsible for strategic network development in support of the company’s global portfolio.

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