6 Key Steps for Migrating to a Colocation Facility

Transitioning from one data center to another is a major project for any business, especially when choosing a third-party colocation provider for the first time.  Not only does a successful move have a variety of long-term implications, but potential short-term complications.  Only by implementing a solid transition strategy will the move to a new colocation facility be as smooth as possible.

Start Planning Early

Moving an entire data center to a colocation facility is a time-intensive task.  In order to have enough time to develop and flush out the “moving plan”, businesses should start planning three to six months in advance.  Ideally, the plan should start being developed while the business is still evaluating potential colocation facilities.

Identify Risks and Develop Contingencies

When crafting the colocation transition strategy, it is important to take extra time to identify potential risks and pitfalls which could complicate the move and lead to an extended downtime.  Once all of the risks are identified, then multiple contingencies should be developed for each.  This is the only way to ensure a major downtime does not occur during the move.  Nothing is worse than getting tripped up right before all of the servers are about to go live.

Create a Full Inventory

In order to make sure everything gets moved at the right time, creating an up-to-date inventory list is critical.  The inventory list should include all of the hardware, applications, and support contacts which will be moved or used during the transition to a colocation facility.  The earlier this is completed the better because it will dictate the overall moving strategy.

Create Disaster Recovery Plan

Most businesses have some type of disaster recovery plan in place.  When moving from the current data center to a colocation facility, the disaster recovery plan will need to be adjusted.  It is also beneficial to create a stop-gap disaster recovery plan which is solely focused on disasters which may occur during the move.

Move Primary or Secondary Hardware

Once the SLAs have been signed, it is time to begin moving the hardware to the colocation facility.  Every move-in strategy is based on one of two concepts.  The first is to move all of the primary hardware and applications immediately.  This ensures the business gets the most difficult and mission critical aspects of the move taken care of as quickly as possible.

The second strategy is to move all of the secondary hardware and applications first.  When this strategy is employed, the secondary hardware will be completely online before any primary hardware is moved.  The secondary hardware then takes on the role of the primary hardware as a stop-gap solution during the rest of the transition.

Move the Rest and Get Set Up

The final step is moving whatever hardware and applications remain.  All of the remaining setup and configuration is taken care of during this phase as well.

Moving to a new colocation facility is a time-consuming process which requires proper planning and an effective move-in strategy to make it as easy as possible.  Taking time to plan the move to a colocation facility provides significant cost savings during the move as well as over the long-term.  Plus, the value of pre-determined moving day contingency plans cannot be overstated.

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