Monday, November 24, 2014
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How to Ensure a Smooth Data Center Migration

We know that the word “migration” is enough to make most IT professionals lose sleep, and for good reason. Moving production data and applications to a new data center can be an undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Properly managing a data  and application migration begins with a plan and understanding the needs of your business.

There are two types of data migrations: forced migrations and planned migrations. Obviously, a planned data migration offers more opportunity to strategize your move around hardware lifecycles, development timelines and the needs of your business. Forced, emergency migrations are certainly not as easy, but they can be managed easily if you and your IT staff and resources take the proper steps beforehand to ensure a smooth transition. Here are a few tips to truly prepare for data migration.

There are plenty of ways to implement a new data environment, but you need to choose the one that best meets the needs of your business. Are you planning a move to the public cloud or private cloud, or do you need a hybrid cloud model in order to optimize application performance? Each choice has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that you’ll need to consider before your move.

Right-Size Your Infrastructure

Migrating to a cloud or hybrid environment should be looked at as a valuable opportunity, especially for companies migrating from a legacy environment with physical servers. Cloud infrastructure offers the best opportunity to optimize performance and cut costs, and companies can see unexpected results by moving from legacy hardware. 19 times out of 20, a physical environment is almost guaranteed to be over-provisioned and under-utilized, which means that a cloud migration is the perfect time to right-size your data environment.

When planning your environment with your cloud hosting partner, make you sure you consider all the variables. While the cloud promises better IT agility, a hybrid environment may be well suited to your business. For instance, your databases may run better and lower cost on physical infrastructure, with an optimized cloud to run web applications – you just need to find the right balance for your mission-critical objectives. Much of this depends upon your database requirements and the answer can vary from client to client.

One potential hurdle with virtualizing critical processes and applications is that some legacy software solutions may not tolerate virtualization. If your older software is tied to specific hardware, you can easily migrate other critical applications through a virtual machine, and then continue to support the software while planning to upgrade your application to a modern platform.

Find Your Cloud

Data migration plans are often driven by cost savings but downtime cannot be overlooked. Migrating all IT applications to a cloud service provider like Datapipe requires minimal downtime, no large capital outlays, no physical moving and no new hardware. The right cloud provider will make it as easy as possible for you to manage your data migration or consolidation. A partner like Datapipe can pre-stage and test your environment, and minimize the transition timeframe to ensure the smoothest move possible.

Cloud migration offers the best of all solutions, giving you the freedom to easily replicate data, virtualize mission-critical applications and to run fully tested applications in a guaranteed environment.

Build a Timeline

In a best-case scenario – a planned, strategic migration – you can build a data center migration into the lifecycle of your network hardware. According to Data Center Knowledge, the typical functional lifespan of a server is about 3 years, while storage arrays may have a slightly longer lifetime. This should give you plenty of time to properly plan a move, find a partner to assist you in data migration and to properly upgrade your legacy software to live on new hardware.

But even if you don’t have time to plan a full strategic migration, you should build a timeline that works for your business. Giving your team some breathing space to spin up your new environment without impacting current production environments is vital to a successful migration.

Plan Post-Move Testing

Build some time to test your new environment before migrating your core IT functionality, or work with your cloud provider that will make sure your environment is fully tested before you start migrating data. However you choose to build your environment, your migration timeline should clearly include time to model and test your new environment so that you can avoid a rushed migration.

No matter how you choose to approach migration, Datapipe can develop a migration plan that fits the unique needs of your business. We work with you to understand your mission objectives, timeline and budget to ensure that your data migration goes as smoothly as possible.

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About David Vogel

David Vogel
Digital marketer at Datapipe.