Avoid These Costly Mistakes When Moving Your Data Center

It may be one of the most dreaded IT projects. For IT Professionals, there is much risk and very little reward when it comes to moving or consolidating the enterprise data center. If things go smoothly then you improved your infrastructure and hopefully reduced some operating costs. If things go badly, you take down the entire company while knocking out your ERP or other vital systems relied on daily by the entire company, including your CEO. We want to ensure you look good while surviving this big IT project.

You probably know about these broader mistakes when moving your data center like:

  • Poor Planning and a lack of preparation.
  • Not having a comprehensive assessment and inventory including a rack-by-rack and U-by-U documentation of each device and its associated applications.
  • Not ordering sufficient power at your new data center.
  • Not having a dedicated Project Manager and defined roles during the migration project.
  • Upgrading parts of the infrastructure stack without seeing dependencies, thus knocking out systems.

Don’t underestimate man power and its multiplied impact, e.g., if five Techs are moving you each hour of delay costs you more. Sometimes the devil is in the details so beware of these pitfalls and the potential havoc in terms of added risk and increased moving costs the night of the move. We interviewed a leading data center migration company, and specifically asked them how Clients can avoid costly errors and here’s what they said:

  • The customer not being ready the night of the move adds hours of billable time.
    • Clients often underestimate man power. Multiply that by five Techs standing around waiting equals extra billable costs for which you never budgeted.
  • Not un-racking the servers and other hardware causes problems.
    • Many customers think you can just move servers in the racks and reuse the same racks once you get to your new data center. This is problematic for cable management, creates manual work to mount the old racks and may not even be allowed by the new data center.
  • The customer having the wrong length of patch cords.
    • Believe it or not, a common costly error is buying the wrong length cords.
  • Not performing tracing and not understanding your cable management.
    • You can save a lot of time if you trace and document everything prior to the move.
  • Customers not properly shutting down their equipment prior to moving.
    • The movers arrive the evening of the move only to discover the client never shut down their servers and SAN. Two hours are spent times five Techs standing around. This all costs time and money. You get the picture.
  • Not having a loading dock or assuming they have one.
    • If your loading dock is far or inaccessible from the source data center it creates more delays.
  • Site assumptions in general.
    • You should do a walk through and site survey of the source and destination sites to identify any unforeseen obstacles before the move.
  • Device labeling
    • If you don’t label your devices, it will cause unnecessary confusion and possible delays. Not to mention risk, what if some servers at the source are actually staying behind and the movers inadvertently move them since they’re not properly labeled.
  • Proper Access Granted to Sites
    • If you don’t call both data centers prior to the move and submit the entire team’s names, they may be denied entrance which creates more time delays which the client calls up to grant them access.
  • Work space
    • You need to create a designated area or space for your movers to work.
  • Messy cabling
    • Cabling intertwined, power and network creates possible downtime for tracing.

The most costly mistake of all from their perspective was not hiring a professional Data Center migration company. It makes sense. You hire professionals all the time for their insights and expertise, why wouldn’t you hire a professional for something as complex and risky as moving your data center? After all, they’ve seen many mistakes over the years and and know how to avoid them. Hiring a professional also offloads the Project Management component of the project, as everybody in your IT department is probably busy with their daily job duties.

I hope this helps, and if I omitted any costly errors, please let us know!

Omar Rezec
Vice President