The digitization of business and the move toward cloud computing have given companies new and better options for the structure and location of their Data Centers. But a Data Center migration is rarely an easy undertaking.
Here, Deborah Forster, a CSC Project Manager, and Simon Crouch, a CSC Solution Architect, share thoughts on what goes into successful migration and what projects they’ve been particularly proud of.
In our last post, we talked about what goes into a successful Data Center migration and how you approach each project. Are there specific examples of success you can share with us?
Simon: Yes, two come to mind. The first one was in 2014, and the client was a global power generation and rail transport company. During an eight-month project we relocated their sensitive applications hosted in a Data Center to a new location over six separate weekends.
We put them into a brand new-facility with new power, racking, networks, storage and backup. We also installed new servers to house more virtual machines. We basically built them a brand new infrastructure.
Deborah: The client wanted the new location to be not too far away from the old location. So we worked closely with them from the very beginning and found a new location about 20 kilometers away. Then we negotiated a lease with the facility owner for the required space and build a Data Center in the empty room. This was followed by the relocation of the services to the new facilities.
We also assisted them in assessing that some of their services were too old to survive the move. But those were replicated in the new facility, leveraging the latest infrastructure technology.
The skills, experience and knowledge of the teams involved were key to the success.
Simon: Here’s another very recent example. Just a few months ago we had to assist a client with moving a Data Center in Paris, France under a tight deadline. The building that housed the Data Center was being closed, and we had to exit very quickly working with the client to move to a different location.
CSC was already working on a refresh program for certain applications in the Data Center. We helped evaluate the existing hardware and decided that some was too old to justify moving. So with the client, we took the opportunity to further rationalize resources and ended up with a brand new set of hardware, storage, backup and network.
We lift-and-shifted everything over a single weekend from one region of Paris into an existing Data Center of ours in the neighborhood of Clichy. It was the IT equivalent of an organ transplant. The hours were long – I remember it well!
Deborah: The team did an amazing job. Not only were there no disruptions post-move, we heard from the client that application performance improved. And by rationalizing resources and updating infrastructure, the client reduced their number of servers by 50 percent. That translates to a dramatic reduction in power usage and carbon footprint in general.
Not only did we hit an aggressive timeframe, we helped the client optimize their IT resources and reduce their costs.
Any further advice, tips or Data Center trends to watch?
Simon: As we’ve stressed earlier, know your network! Make sure your infrastructure knowledge is up to date. Understand your applications, your operating systems and software licenses – how everything works together.
Also, when doing a migration, be reasonable on what can be updated. In the examples we’ve shared, a great deal of hardware was updated but not applications, not operating systems. It’s usually not a good idea to change all those things during a migration, as more changes makes it harder to identify problems.
Deborah: As for trends, we’re watching closely the move to software-defined networking and network function virtualization, using software to do what was done by hardware. Since migrations depend on the underlying network, we’re interested in these technologies and sharing our best practices with clients.
Because the technology is advancing so quickly, the outsourcing option is becoming increasingly compelling. Why wouldn’t companies want to focus on their core competencies instead of Data Center management?
Simon Crouch is a solutions architect, particularly experienced in tech refresh and work in understanding and interpreting customer requirements.
Deborah Forster is a manager of IT infrastructure and applications project for CSC clients.