October 26, 2016

Six questions to ask yourself before relocating your data centre

Six questions to ask before relocating your data centre

By Sunny Desai, Professional Services Manager

An organisation may choose to migrate its data centre for any number of reasons. Migrations may be necessitated by a data consolidation after a business merger, the changing needs of a growing business, an end-of-lease situation, a decision to move to the cloud, and many other factors besides. Whatever your goals there are certain questions that must be addressed before taking action in order to streamline the process and minimise the risks of anything going wrong.

Have my data centre costs become unreasonable?
In many cases, cost-saving is the number one driver of business data centre relocations, offering many avenues to help cut operating expenses. Calculating the price per square metre that your data centre costs to maintain is the perfect place to start when planning your relocation. Shared environments, for example, are cheaper than on-premises solutions. And don’t forget to take all expenses into account, including racking, cooling and electricity.

What about compliance?
Compliance requirements are being introduced all the time – a relocation is a good opportunity to assess your current compliance status, as well as to ensure your new data centre will be up to date. From biometrics systems and firewalls, to fire detection and suppression systems, non-compliant businesses face exposure and risk from loss of critical data. With clients’ reputations on the line, the stakes have never been higher.

Do I want to follow an OPEX or CAPEX model?
Does your organisation really want (or need) to own all its own equipment, or does it make more sense to lease it on an As-a-Service basis? Many businesses are making the move to OPEX-based models and embracing the co-sharing off data centres. The advantage of having hybrid cloud environments is the ability to shift workloads as and when required.

Have I fully documented my current data centre?
A relocation is a good time to take stock of your data centre, in order to make adjustments that can help it run faster, more efficiently, and more affordably. It is also critical to ensure everything works after you have relocated to the new site. You’ll need to consider possible infrastructure and application dependencies that you may have overlooked, not to mention taking inventory of all physical data centre assets and equipment, in order to make an informed choice about moving, replacing, or possibly retiring them. Do you have your DR/BCP plan in place, documented and tested? It’s a possibility that you may need to switch to DR whilst relocating if you are a 24x7x365 type of business.

Do I have the right people to help me relocate?
A data centre relocation is not easy. You need a partner who knows what they’re doing to ensure it goes smoothly. Consider whether you have the right people on the job, with a proven track record of relocating data centres successfully. This includes the logistics and transport company you use (you will need air-suspended trucks for moving such sensitive equipment). You also need to have adequate insurance and maintenance plans in place, in case of damage to the equipment during transport.

Have I planned for any eventuality?
In our experience, mitigating the risks associated with data centre relocation is all about planning, planning and more planning. Trial runs and test plans are invaluable in providing insights into the kinds of problems you may come up against and keeping downtime to an absolute minimum.

Data is the lifeblood of modern businesses, so careful handling, exceptional planning, and input from experienced professionals should be a non-negotiable requirement to make sure it gets done right from the word go.

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