by Scott Watson

Today's Environment

Many organizations are finding that, for a variety of reasons, they need to migrate their core technology to a new location. After a new location is selected – which might be an expanded space in an existing facility, a new data center, or a colocation vendor – IT Leaders are faced with a critical decision. How do I migrate critical applications and infrastructure – often required 7x24 –without a significant disruption to the business? The answer will define the success of the IT organization and how the business perceives IT’s ability to support them.

Point B's Perspective

Data center migrations are inherently complex and risky for any organization. They are one of the most challenging projects an IT organization will ever undertake. Large software implementations may impact one or a few applications; data center migrations impact every application and every component of the infrastructure.

A common mistake IT leaders make is assuming that a data center migration is an infrastructure project – an effort that can be executed behind the scenes and “in the margins.” The opposite is true. Migrations are application-centric efforts that require the full engagement of the application, infrastructure and business teams. Consider the following: Sequencing a migration by server name or technology type will impact many applications and their business owners multiple times. To the business the outages will seem random and poorly planned. Conversely, grouping servers and technology by the business function and applications they serve impacts a business unit only once.

A typical migration of a moderately sized data center takes 9 - 18 months to plan and execute. The execution phase of a well-planned migration may take only a few hours, but the effort required to plan, build, test, communicate, mitigate risks, and prepare the business can take months.