When companies outgrow existing data centers, they may face the intimidating task of moving their IT operations to a new location. Done right and with the help of a SAS70 certified partner, relocating a data center can be a surprisingly painless operation that has significant benefits for the company's IT department.
Reasons For Relocating Data Centers
Probably the most common reason for moving data centers involves centralizing operations. It used to be cost effective for each corporate location to have its own server farm, but advances in communication technology now makes it more efficient to handle all operations from one centralized location. Companies may be consolidating existing locations, or they may be absorbing data centers in new acquisitions after a merger.
In other cases, companies have simply outgrown their existing IT facilities. Increasing demands may require a larger operation than the current server room can provide. Modern blade servers often stress the cooling and ventilation capabilities of server rooms build decades ago, and it may be more cost effective to move operations to a new location than to upgrade the current facility.
Finding Your New Location
The first decision companies face is whether they want to manage their own data centers or colocate their servers in a facility managed by another party. Both options have advantages, and the better choice will depend on the company's ability to provide the features needed in a modern data center.
The new facility will have to provide security from threats such as malware or hackers, but also physical security against unauthorized intrusion. Disaster recovery solutions should include methods to deal with fires, power loss, equipment failure and even major natural disasters. The staff should be trained and experienced, and the center should be staffed 24x7x365 for maximum accessibility. The center should be SAS70 certified and have a solid history of favorable audits. When a facility is SAS70 certified, it has a demonstrated history of reliability and security.
Finding The Right Partner
Moving data centers is a complex process and experience is essential for a painless transition. Not many companies can claim experience in that arena, so organizations should almost always find a qualified data center relocation partner to help them with the planning and implementation. Many colocation providers will offer to help with the move, but be sure they have the qualifications to do so.
The provider should have a documented history of helping other clients relocating data centers. They should be able to provide not only advice but services such as transportation of the hardware. They should be insured against problems and, like a colocation provider, should be SAS70 certified so you know they have a proven history of quality service.
Do It Right The First Time
Creating a plan for moving data centers is not something you sketch out over a lunch conference. The operation is more than just unplugging computers at one location and starting them up at the new facility. In today's business world, companies can not afford even a few minutes of downtime, much less days or weeks. There is a huge range of logistic and resource needs that need to be addressed. This is why it is so important to have an experienced SAS70 certified partner.
It is not unusual for data center relocation planning to take six months to a year. Taking the time to address every concern and detail of the move minimizes the chance of something going wrong on moving day. Contingency plans and comprehensive schedule assignments keeps the move on track. The move itself is typically performed in only a few hours, but it takes months of planning to achieve a relocation that takes so little time.
Once plans to relocate data centers are in motion, it is essential that the organization have the management support and professional commitment to see the project through to the end. Sudden loss of faith in the operation can throw months of planning out the window. A move that is started but not seen through can result in an unstable infrastructure.
Everyone needs to stay motivated all through the move itself. It's easy to lose focus with the long hours that will be required, and that's when mistakes are made. Once the servers are in the new location they should be thoroughly tested to ensure everything is operating at optimal levels.
Data center relocation can be one of the most stressful operations an IT department ever sees, but with careful planning and the help of SAS70 certified partners, the task can be completed quickly and efficiently.