What is a Data Center Migration?

Transitioning to a new data center can be a complex undertaking, depending on the type of migration and the organization’s objectives. This glossary explores what data center migration is, what the benefits of completing one are, and best practices for executing a migration.


What is a Data Center Migration?

A data center migration is a process of moving hardware or software or both from one data center to another.  Data center migrations can take place for various reasons, such as company relocation, an update to IT infrastructure, the requirement to meet new regulations, organizational expansions and mergers, or organizational change to accommodate remote working.


What are the benefits of completing a data center migration?

While data center migrations occur for various reasons, there are several benefits that can be realized. These include:


Lower operational costs

As the cloud becomes a viable option, more organizations are transitioning to cloud-enabled networks. The cost of hosted applications and infrastructure proves more affordable than the larger CAPEX cost organizations must absorb every three to five years.


Modern hardware and software 

Migrations often present the chance to upgrade infrastructure and modernize software. With access to modernized equipment and applications, businesses can realize productivity gains. 


A faster Network

Enterprises have the opportunity to leverage edge computing, helping reduce latency for application users.


Improved security threat posture

With cloud-based solutions becoming the backbone of many enterprises, security becomes less of a concern. Large security and threat management R&D investments by hyperscalers ensure the best threat detection and prevention solutions, improving cybersecurity for enterprises.


Regulatory compliance is easily achieved

Hyperscale cloud solutions are backed by heavy investment to meet compliance requirements, easing the investment required to meet regulatory compliance as an enterprise.


Greater scalability

Scalability is a key concern for organizations. As the need for more computing power, storage, and network bandwidth increase, the costs of keeping up with these demands can be exorbitant. Migrating to cloud ecosystems presents enterprises with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure and services that can be scaled alongside operational requirements, without the large investment.


What are the types of data center migrations?

There are several types of data center migrations, each dependent on the enterprise’s objectives. Migration options include:


Consolidation migration

Consolidation migrations are a means of reducing the number of physical data centers or servers. Often, consolidation migrations are due to acquisitions, mergers, the need to cut costs or leverage virtualization solutions. 


Colocation or relocation migration

Relocation or colocation migrations are a move of infrastructure from one data center to another. There are two data centers involved; the source and target location. Migration options include physical to physical, physical to virtual, virtual to virtual, physical to cloud, and virtual to cloud. 


Cloud migration

Cloud migrations involve transitioning applications, infrastructure, systems, and workloads into the cloud. Cloud migrations can also involve migrating from one cloud solutions provider to another.


Hybrid migration

Hybrid migrations are a combination of the above migration types. These take place in cases where organizations use both on-premise and off-premise infrastructure and software. Hybrid migrations are typically executed to improve resilience and business continuity.


Data center migration best practices

To ensure a smooth transition from your existing computing environment to a new one, it’s recommended that you use the following guidelines:


  • Create a viable business case. A data center migration business case outlines a clear case for making the transition. It includes a risk assessment and discovery phase, cost analysis, implementation plan, and identifies who will run the project.


  • Get buy-in from all stakeholders. Migrations should benefit all staff, however, without buy-in can cause frustration and hurt productivity. Establish clear and open communications with all stakeholders and provide regular updates on the migration project. Ensure that the benefits of the migration are communicated, especially in the context of how it will serve each stakeholder and division.


  • Establish roles and responsibilities. Identify and recruit team members to assist with the migration. Include core team members that provide track project status and manage the budget, technical experts to develop the migration strategy, and business stakeholders who identify risks and issues associated with the migration.


  • Review contractual obligations. Migrations can require leaving one physical address for another. Ensure that any lease agreements have been reviewed and contracts terminated in advance and according to lease agreement obligations to avoid unnecessary costs. 


  • Create an inventory of all assets. Before migrating establish what assets must be moved and identify all application dependencies along with technical requirements. Ensure that hardware is accounted for and determine which infrastructure (including communications equipment) will be moved or replaced during the migration. 


  • Determine the architecture and design specifications. Establish how data will be moved, where data will be stored, and how it will be tested.


  • Migrate in batches and systematically. As infrastructure is machinery and failure is possible, segment data into batches or categories. Smaller or categorized data subsets are easier to migrate and test for integrity than large data volumes. It is important to map the networks’ dependencies and to have full visibility of the infrastructure before, during and after the migration waves occurred. 


  • Develop efficient staff schedules. Data center migrations impact entire organizations. Ensure that workflow planning has been accounted for to limit or completely remove any impact to business operations during the migration.


  • Review audit trails and logs. With a migration completed, it’s essential to confirm that all data has been correctly migrated to avoid applications with dependencies from failing to operate efficiently or causing productivity bottlenecks.


  • Optimize the new environment. Post-migration, examine the new environment for improvement. Optimization also includes identifying opportunities to cut costs even further by identifying which services are not required, and by leveraging features like automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to free up human capital to focus on higher-level tasks.


What are data center migration tools?  

Data center migration tools help decrease risk and potential downtime during migration while optimizing the process. At a minimum, the tools with the following capabilities should be used:


  • Application dependency mapping software 
  • A single pane of glass management setup to establish a complete view of all assets to be migrated and manage the migration process and workloads


Streamline your data center migration

Effective data center migration planning involves a complete inventory of your IT ecosystem. VNT’s dependency mapping tool discovers and maps business application dependencies in only 30 minutes. It is a 100% non-intrusive solution. It’s also agentless, credential-less, no need to reconfigure firewalls – we work passively using existing network traffic protocols (IP address based) and map automatically 24/7 and in real-time so our maps are always up-to-date.


Watch a free demo to see how you can discover all applications and their dependencies to shore up your data center migration. Access demo.