The Ten-Step Data Center Relocation Checklist / Methodology

Once the project is defined and the core team assembled, there are certain activities that are essential.  Here is a simple list of the ten most critical tasks that any DCR project manager must take care of:

  1. Inventories – hardware, applications, and every component that will be relocated or consolidated.  The inventories need to be detailed, accurate, and complete – with equipment model and serial numbers, configurations, replacement value, vendor contacts, and a Visio diagram of how each system is de-installed (before) and re-installed (after).  You won’t get the detail required without considerable effort.  So, if this comes easily, you haven’t done it right.
  1. Security – the dominating characteristic of a large DCR is activity. Everything is in motion at one point or another.  A good security plan will help ensure that data doesn’t disappear, that unauthorized people are kept away, and that the business remains un-compromised.
  1. Planning – from the early “pre-planning” phase through detailed DCR planning, to schedule development and the move days, you will spend far more time and effort on this area than anywhere else.
  1. Budget – A DCR is expensive, very expensive if what you are relocating or consolidating is a major facility. The DCR budget must adequately cover new construction, renovation, site closure, equipment, staff, tools, and outside expertise from vendors and DCR specialists.  Managing the budget and keeping your executive management well informed are major challenges.
  1. RFPs, SOWs & Contracts – Vague RFPs make for poor SOWs. Poor SOWs make for terrible contracts.  Take the time to work with DCR specialists right from the start to develop the right RFPs and Statements of Work (SOWs) for your project.
  1. Use the DCR Specialists – Selection of the right type of DCR specialist for each critical area is important. But, do you need one single company to do it all?  That depends on you.  If you’re internal DCR teams lack specialist skills, whether in planning, schedule (Move Domain & Move Days) development, or equipment de-installation, moving, and re-installation, then you will need to acquire that one company that can provide all of the required services. Not many DCR companies actually provide the services they offer, MIGRA is the ONLY hands-on DCR service provider you’ll find.
  1. Plan the Move, Move On Plan – Moving equipment is a critical part of the project. Systems must be broken down, packed, transported, re-assembled, tested, and re-certified by the vendors.  Racks and other equipment support systems must be ready, utilities and communication services need to be ready, and people have to be migrated from where they are now to where they will be.
  1. Prepare the New Facility, Close the Old One – Inspections of any new or renovated data center must focus on more than the technology being installed. You must ensure that fire suppression systems are ready, tested and approved.  Cooling systems must be adequate for projected growth.  Utilities must be in place and operational.  And, the place must be clean – very clean.  While you are necessarily focused on the destination, you must also do what is necessary to de-commission equipment that won’t move and close the old data center facility.
  1. Backup The Data – Your backup media will work (it ALWAYS does, you NEVER have problems), but just in case it doesn’t this time, you need to have a recovery plan. And that plan must be thoroughly tested, with practice runs conducted at regular intervals during the detailed planning phase.  Virtualization tools can be utilized here to host systems remotely.  But even there, a DCR-based recovery plan is essential.  And it’s not the master DR/COB plan that everyone has, but too few organizations test enough to assure that it will function as expected when required.
  1. Migrate – when it’s time to move, stop planning and move. This is the moment when careful planning and capable project management result in flawless Move Days.  When everything has been relocated or consolidated, the old systems retired, and the vendors have re-certified their products, you can take that well-earned vacation day.  And then get ready for the next big project because Management now has a better understanding of the business value of great project management.