Data Center Migration : Strategy, Process and Solutions

Introduction to Data Center Migration 

Data Center Migration is the process of deploying and migrating/relocating an existing data center from one operating environment to another without causing data loss, this relocation process requires no physical movement and is logical. Data centers are designed and deployed to provide storage for critical data and some applications of the organizations.

Data Center Deployment

Data center deployment includes deploying several components that help the data center to be secure and accessible. Some of these components are storage systems, routers, firewalls, switches, and servers. It also includes the deployment of application delivery controllers(ADC), which are computer network devices in a data center. 

Data Center Migration Strategy

Data center migration strategy must include: 

• The precise definition of the objective, because of which we are migrating data center. 

• Careful budget planning, because in many cases, the migration costs more than the budget planned for it. It is a necessary step for a successful migration process. 

• Knowledge of the process, because without the process knowledge, the migration cannot complete, so the individuals should have experience and training in the migration process. 

Data Center Migration Process

The process constitutes of some steps, which are: 

Assessment of the current Data Center 

For a successful migration, the first step is to know about the data center. We need to assess the data center for its network, server, and operating system requirements. We need to evaluate the applications supported by the data center. 

Building a strategy for migration 

The next step is to build a strategy for a successful migration process. It includes documenting the following: the equipment needed, connectivity diagrams, cooling infrastructure, space utilization, and power specifications, etc. 

Selecting the destination for migration

After the strategy-making, we need to choose the destination for the migration of the data center. It depends on various factors, which can be: the storage space required, the power required, security and the location. These factors help us in choosing the destination for the new data center. The destination can be a private data center or a cloud location also. 

Final Planning

This step includes the design and review of the process. We need to design and review various steps of the migration process. We need to consider all the stakeholders and technology in the review, which is going to be the final review before the development phase begins. 

Development

After the planning phase, we are now ready to begin the development phase. In this phase: 

  • Physical infrastructure is built to support the processes. 
  • The elements of infrastructure are reviewed to avoid last moment changes. 
  • Application performance is benchmarked and reviewed. 
  • The owners sign off the physical infrastructure as a symbol of ownership validation. 

Validation 

The next step in the process is validation. In this phase, various parts of the plan are validated. Also, the critical components such as storage components, firewalls, routers, switches, etc. are validated through a cool-down process. These components are allowed to cool down by shutting them down and then powered on again to see if they are working or not. If they do not recover from the cool-down process, they are troubleshooting for problems or new ones are used in their place. The validation should also include business validation to make sure that all the stakeholders are aware of any changes in the migration process. Business validation should be a quick step. 

Migration

Finally, we are at the Migration phase. The migration is started. There are steps in the migration of each application. The critical applications and components are migrated according to the strategy made in the strategy and assessment phase. The migration process is executed and data is transferred with the data centers. The data consistency is tested, and tests are run to check data, applications, and network configurations. These tests help in analyzing and anticipating the approximate time of the migration process. After the task completes, the migration process concludes. 

Post-migration verification

Here, we need to verify whether the services which were running before the migration process execution are still running or not. We also need to verify if all hardware-specific software are removed. 

Benefits of the Process

Some of the benefits of data center migration are: 

  • Efficiency Increase 

Sometimes when companies grow, their data storage need exceeds their capacity to store data. With the help of the data center migration process, the efficiency and data storage capability both increase. 

  • Cost Reduction 

Data centers are costly for organizations. Data center migration is a costly process, but it can reduce the data center expenses of an organization. Also, unnecessary data is found during the data migration process. By removing this unused data, we can save space, which ultimately saves us some maintenance and storage costs. 

  • Increase in Security 

While we are migrating the data centers to high-level systems or cloud-based services, the security of the data increases due to the high-level security measures of these sources. Also, during the migration process, we can check our own data center security measures. 

Best Practices for Data Center Migration Services

Some of the best practices for this process are: 

Making a strategy 

We should work with a strategy and plan while we are working on the migration process. The plan/strategy should be detailed. The strategy is designed according to the needs of an organization, which is going to deploy the data migration process. 

Budget planning

Mostly data center migrations are poorly planned, and the budget goes out of hand. So, it is important to plan the budget for the process before actually starting to work on it. Also, the risk of exceeding the budget should be taken into consideration. The budget should be planned in such a way that it should not affect the working of applications before or after the migration. 

Understanding the purpose 

One of the essential things in this process is to understand each and every application’s purpose and status. The power specs, requirements, and configurations of the applications should be known. Also, we should be aware of the risks related to the applications when they get involved in the process. 

Data backup strategy and replication 

Sometimes during the data center migration process, data is lost, or in many cases, it is damaged. So, creating a backup strategy is essential. The damaged data may need to be replicated. To save data from getting lost, we can create temporary environments to help to move the data and to replace it when needed. 

Conclusion 

The process of selecting, preparing, extracting, and transforming data and permanently moving it from one storage system to another is Data Migration. Data Migration enhances performance and competitiveness. A very crucial part of the Data Migration process is extensive and rigorous testing, along with descriptive documentation to facilitate future migrations and mitigate risk. 


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