IT Equipment Relocation

Relocation is a perfect time to review existing hardware equipment and to consider the requirements for capacity, redundancy power supplies and cabling. Often server and other equipment, as well as critical, high-value infrastructure items such as servers, network equipment , must be relocated.

At Secure I.T. Environments, our team endeavour to cut the complexity of relocating highly sensitive and high value IT computer equipment. Working closely with our longstanding partner and project manager we are experts in the management and effective safe relocation of IT equipment.

We offer a cost effective full relocation service, asset management and computer audit solution that ensures the equipment infrastructure can be easily exported and maintained throughout the move minimising disruption giving you peace of mind throughout the whole process.

Should you wish to dispose of any computer or IT equipment our partner is registered with the Environment Agency for IT recycling and is one of only 44 companies in the world that hold Asset Disposal and Information Security Alliance (ADISA) accreditation.

Our IT recycling process follows industry leading standards for data loss prevention which allows us to ensure your redundant computer equipment is disposed of in an environmentally, safe and secure way.

Whether clients are moving a single computer server or are considering a full data center migration, we have the ability to run projects from beginning to end, both large or small.

What is a data center relocation / migration?

  • A data center relocation is physically moving your current data centre storage equipment to a new location—either a different room within the current building, new physical address, or new data centre.
  • It is the process of transferring data between computer systems or between storage devices (regardless of location). A data centre migration minimizes downtime for environments with strict SLAs and provides a quick, reliable back-out should the migration fail. Keeping your existing data centre running can provide you with a staging or disaster recovery site and a migration gives you off-line time to build and test the new environment.

What is involved in a data center migration?

Before the successful project you must consider the following:

    • The new facility or infrastructure meets or exceeds the expected future requirements.
    • It’s compatible with present computer applications and solutions.
    • You conduct a test migration to ensure a smooth relocation.
    • You include thorough planning and validation phases.
    • The relocation and management of your staff’s schedule and workflows to make sure there is minimal impact to present business operations.
    • Pick your solution based on both your business’ present and future needs. Depending on your specific business environment, it might make more sense to opt for a cross-platform strategy that enables you to capitalise on the benefits of multiple infrastructure option

Some common data center migration challenges

Migration of computer equipment poses the largest risk in any implementation. While there is a common misconception that any Migration is simply moving data from Point A to Point B, the reality is almost always much more complicated.

Gartner has recognised the risk inherent to Migration. “Analysis of data migration projects over the years has shown that they meet with mixed results. While mission-critical to the success of the business initiatives they are meant to facilitate, lack of planning structure and attention to risks causes many migration efforts to fail.”

What exactly causes Data Migration to be so challenging?

  1. Poorly understood / undocumented legacy computer systems: Every company’s data landscape is unique. It may encompass everything from decades of old mainframes to homegrown one-off databases, each with its own level of support. Documentation may be non-existent, institutional knowledge may be limited, and key staff may be nearing retirement.
  2. Incorrect / incomplete requirements that don’t reflect reality:  Migration of computer equipment requirements are often developed based on assumptions around the data, rather than actual fact. Mappings and translations based on assumptions may miss key values. Duplication between or across legacy data sources may not be expected or accounted for. Data structure disparity between legacy data sources and the new target system may not be fully understood.
  3. Poor Quality / Incomplete Data: Your new system is only as good as the data underpinning it. Missing, invalid or inconsistent legacy computer data can cause ripple effects when it comes to the new system. While information may never be 100% clean, lack of attention to quality can cripple even the most straight forward projects, leading to last minute cleansing initiatives. How do you ensure that any gaps are filled and that you are not migrating too little (or too much)?
  4. Lack of Attention to Detail: It is very easy to overlook seemingly innocuous changes between source and target systems. Fields with the same name may mean different things, both within and across systems. A different field name may be used for the same purpose across systems or multiple values may have the same underlying meaning. Date and time formatting and field length differences can also easily be overlooked, with disastrous impact.
  5. Constant Changes:  Migration projects are all about the changes. Even the most thought through business requirements start to change once testing gets underway and the business sees how the new system performs. Changes can easily number in the hundreds and need to be applied and tested quickly to avoid putting the schedule at risk by delaying test cycles.
  6. Lack of Planning / Testing:  Migration is a complex process, but comprehensive testing often takes a backseat to other concerns. Testing needs to be done throughout the project, and not just by the developers. The functional team and the business need to be engaged with testing to ensure that all requirements are properly met and that all rules are properly applied. Bypassing or delaying testing can allow corrupted information to sneak into the new system or result in Go Live delivered data which does not meet the needs of the business. Just because a record loaded doesn’t mean its correct.
  7. Poor Communication: Migration is generally part of a larger project and must coordinate reams of changes to complex technical requirements while also engaging the business functionally. Without strong IT and cross-functional team communication, unintended results are bound to occur.

When you keep these risk factors in mind, you can approach every Migration with a comprehensive plan to avoid falling behind before you even start, reducing the risk and helping to ensure that the overall project succeeds.

Migration Best Practices

Establish requirements that will give you future proofing for the next two life cycles of technology – six plus years with the relocation project. As density increases, power, air conditioning, connective media services and floor loading are all going to increase.

For a starting point, look at the current power demand per square foot and if at all possible increase it by 50% or 100%, depending on how close you are to the top of the current power availability. Density of processing and storage is raising the demand for power. You cannot have enough power, if you err on the side of having too much available at the commercial entrance, you won’t be sorry in the long run. In most cases, costs for establishing the power feed can be associated with the building cost and recurring charges will be for usage, which will be about the same regardless of the power size.

At some time the successful facility you rely on will run out of something – space, power, tolerance. When that happens you will be faced with the potential daunting task of data centre migration. If you talk to any IT manager the thought of any relocation of any equipment is a time of pure terror and frustration. For instance the cabling engineers will all have a reason why they can’t unplug anything. The end users have change window freezes and new application deployments that you can’t alter. It just goes on as well as having to manage this while keeping within budget . Therefore in many cases it’s best to step back and take a look at the good and the bad. There are five really good things (best practice) about a data centre migration

Second, think about the layout. It is all white space,SANS, CRU’s and PDU’s, imagine how information will flow through the data centre. It comes in from the street via the network entrance. It goes back out via that same access. Firewalls, DMZ’s, termination equipment should all be located closest to the network entrance with enough white space to allow for growth. Place the server storage assets where they are going to make the most sense. Don’t accommodate everything in the first three rows of racks and then have an ad hoc implementation strategy. Even though the technology is changing fast, you aren’t going to do a massive forklift upgrade within the next five years, so get the space planning done now. Plan for room to grow easily for your servers switches and storage.

Third, cable the equipment once. That goes for electrical branch circuits as well as telecommunications cabling. Make sure that you have branch circuits pulled to all future cabinet locations. Dependent on budgets companies purchase most of the future racks and place them on the floor with branch circuits set but not active ready for any migration or relocation of equipment. The same goes for telecom cabling. Following on from the the second point, place your primary MDF in proximity to the network feed. Leave space for the core switches and enough space to allow for growth to capacity. The last thing you want is an invasive change five years down the road because you need to upgrade cabling or power. Pull fibre cabling to every cabinet. The incremental cost of the fibre cable is minimal and you already have the labour there doing the installation. Everything under the floor should be done up front.

Fourth, get a clean business inventory. Nothing goes in the new room that isn’t in the configuration management data base (CMDB) with an owner and notations about critical business process dependencies. Components need to have configurations as well as contacts, both internal and at the vendor. You cannot afford the, “We’ll come back and do that later” perspective.

Fifth, get your migration processes in line up front by allocating delivery resources. Use the (CMDB) to guide the migration, and make sure every item in it has every field populated. Let your DC build out be the excuse for wiring into every aspect of the change process the maintenance of documentation in the system. Continuously update the floor layout information and keep notations about how you expect the growth to happen until it is at capacity. Don’t let people have to assume what you meant to do.

These are what we believe are the Five Best Practice checklist areas that stem from a typical migration. Taking advantage of them may not be easy for any migration . Success requires participation from a lot of groups within a company. A typical project can take 12-18 months from the decision to issue an RFP for space to the “go live” date. because other projects are going on during that time and may make support for your needs a lower priority. Build that support into your planning, but don’t lose track of what you need for success.

Data Center Migration Project Plan

How do you create a data center project plan?

In many successful IT facilities ,Today’s business has a lot of storage options and requirements around information control and is going to continue to grow and evolve. With that in mind their is one aspect of the IT administrative process that some organisations hate to discuss: migrations.

What if your business needs to move a massive amount of equipment and require a relocation services provider? What if it’s not as simple as just re-mapping a storage repository? In some cases, you might be migrating entire storage vendors to align with specific business strategies. Either way – when dealing with critical corporate information – you need to complete a plan and a reputable migration company to carry out this work. So, here are 8 steps to creating an enterprise migration plan.

Business Impact Analysis. To best identify the business and operational requirements for a migration or data centre relocation project, a BIA should be conducted. The BIA process will involve different business resources who will work to ensure that their requirements are factored into the migration plan.

During this process, four elements will be identified:

  • IT relocation support project team will examine and define available network bandwidth, storage, CPU and server needs, allowable downtime, and the data centre relocation migration schedule.
  • As more relocation teams become involved in the process, database and system administrators define application and database requirements.
  • Key business data center partners will work to define the importance of, and requirements for, specific applications and types of data.
  • Internal security and compliance groups define compliance requirements for a given infrastructure

This document isn’t completed only for a migration plan. The BIA is a critical plan which helps with disaster recovery planning and infrastructure management for any successful data centre.

Discovery and Requirement Planning. The discovery step helps define migrations of server hardware and software environment for the data center relocation; as well as overall requirements for the storage migration. Leave no feature unchecked in this process and ensure that you conduct a deep discovery of your current systems. This means understanding dependencies, permissions, user groups, how it is organised, network configurations, and more.

Mapping and Storage Design. Once you completed and checklist the discovery phase, you will be able use this information to create your mapping and design architecture for the new ecosystem. In some cases, this’ll be easy when working with the same vendor which may be more costs effective. However, for heterogeneous migrations or working with multiple vendors – this process is especially important. Although there are migration tools which can help, there needs to be a complete manual verification process to ensure proper data, server storage, and configuration mapping and design.

Creating the Network and Storage Migration Plan.  Within your successful data center, in many situations, you’ll be able to checklist your secondary storage or control ecosystem in parallel to your existing environment. This allows for a seamless and cost effective storage and network migration. Nonetheless, you still need to have a complete migration plan outlining the various contact information.. You need to understand how this can impact users, your business, server applications, and other workloads. In creating your plan – take these four points into consideration:

  • Constraints must be identified through business and operational requirements. Make sure to take your business operations into consideration when doing migrations.
  • Identify all of information to be migrated and all of the necessary associated attributes. When creating the migration plan, use your mapping and design metrics to ensure that all information attributes are accounted for and configured.
  • Use vendor-specific migration tools if needed. You don’t have to do this alone. Aside from being able to work with the migration,server storage partner or relocation services – you can leverage vendor-specific migration tools. These can help you plan out the design, requirements, and even migration process.
  • Always incorporate environment storage and application best procedures. Does the VM need to be shut down? Can the VM be migrated via hypervisor migration? Can you live-migrate storage repositories? When working with virtualization, next-gen storage appliances, and very critical workloads – ensuring best practices around apps and storage is absolutely necessary. Since every environment is unique in their requirements, creating a migration plan is often a challenge. Different types of information may require different migration tools and strategies. Furthermore, business and operational requirements (downtime for example) may require creative ways of migrating the data.

Storage Preparation and Provisioning
. During provisioning, the destination storage environment is prepared for the data move. This is where you design your repositories, LUNs, volumes, specific policies, security rules, virtualization integration, and more. Remember, we’re working with a lot of different types of storage environments today. Understand differences between hybrid arrays, all-flash, and traditional spinning disk. Furthermore, know how to provision new features like caching and even dynamic provisioning/de-provisioning features. Also, when designing around a new storage system – ensure that you’re familiar with all of the new features in the environment.

Validation Testing. This is a critical step. You can do things like load-testing and ensuring that policies and configurations properly transferred over. This is your chance to create a “production” test environment to ensure your new storage solution can handle user and business requirements.

Final Migration Testing and Validation. The final and certainly very critical step is to validate the post-migration environment. This final step will confirm that all business and technical expectations have been met. From a testing side – at a minimum – network access, file permissions, directory structure, and database/applications need to be validated in their new environment.

In planning your own storage migration process, make sure to work with storage engineers and architects who can help guide you throughout the process. Remember, you’re dealing with very critical information resources here. Spend the extra time planning effective migrations, make sure you conduct effective backups, and work to ensure the safe transfer of your information. In some cases, this means working directly with the vendor, in other cases a partner can help. Either way, take migration seriously. Storage outages are never fun; good planning can help avoid the situation and keep an environment up and running.