At one time or another, a growing business will require access to higher resources in data services, which necessitates data center relocation. The rewards in the form of higher flexibility in terms of scalability are felt almost immediately. But relocating a data center can come across challenges that wipe out the benefits of relocation. Which are these challenges, and how can they be overcome?
Poor Planning and Disorganization
Relocating IT assets is a complex process, even for a small organization. The main cause of a disorganized relocation is underestimating the time, effort, and money required. Failing to inventory systems and data leads to losing track of what has moved and what is yet to move. Challenges are also seen where the resources needed in the new environment are poorly identified.
The solution to this challenge is drawing up a comprehensive migration plan with IT relocation services. This plan should have the following elements;
- Identify the objective for relocating, priorities, stakeholders, and the budget for the project
- Drawing up tasks and different stakeholder roles in these tasks
- Coming up with a risk management plan to identify risks and how to mitigate them
- Coming up with timelines for different phases
Loss of IT Assets
There is a real risk of misplacing or losing both physical and digital IT assets when relocating a data center. This is true for a complete physical move from one location to another. Small units of equipment like routers and power units are easy to miss. Likewise, digital assets can be lost, especially data that is in storage media like flash drives.
Loss of app data can easily sabotage the relocation. This happens when critical apps crash because of missing data. Data loss is more serious than hardware loss because it can expose a business to data breaches. Losing confidential data has serious legal and financial implications for any business. There are penalties for not complying with privacy laws. There is also the loss of trust in the brand.
The solution to this challenge lies in the careful inventorying of all IT assets. Hardware should be listed. A plan should be put in place for disposal or repurposing hardware that has reached End-of-Life (EOL).
A data destruction plan should be in place to deal with data stored in equipment marked for disposal or repurposing. A professional data destruction service should also do this. An IT relocation service will usually have this service as part of a data center relocation package.
A data backup plan should also be in place to mitigate data loss for critical apps. The backed-up data should be offsite or in the cloud. Data backups enable rollbacks for elements that don’t go as expected. Continuity for mission-critical apps is ensured by setting up a parallel environment such that the swing over is flawless.
Compatibility issues will always come up when upgrading and migrating to another environment. The ideal situation is where IT assets can be ‘lifted and shifted’ to the new environment and continue working as expected. But incompatibility often occurs in reading data formats, invalidating all data generated in the old environment. In the worst case, incompatibility may cause a system-wide crash.
The solution to incompatibility problems lies in reconciling the operational requirements of the old environment and those of the new environment. A good way to go about it is by having a pilot phase. It becomes easier to document these challenges and plan for adaptation adequately.
Even the best-laid plans sometimes do not go as expected. There is always a risk that service delivery will suffer glitches during data center relocation. Sensitive service providers, such as utility companies or financial institutions, are very vulnerable to brand damage from the service disruption. There are also legal implications to unscheduled service disruptions because the business could be sued.
It is in a business’s best interest to be open and transparent about what is happening and how it could affect service delivery. Where possible, a parallel system should be in place to ensure continuity in the most crucial service delivery.
Most important of all is following the data center relocation plan to the letter. The plan becomes more useful when there is;
- Checklists – Tick off all tasks as they are completed and check what bottlenecks are preventing the completion of pending tasks
- Testing – Testing enables documenting of any upcoming challenges and putting mitigation measures in place
- Communication – All stakeholders should be on board and fully informed of what is happening. They should also be aware of any risks that are likely to materialize
Data center relocation will have challenges, but what matters is how you deal with them. IT relocation services help make a smooth relocation and realize the full benefits of data center relocation.