Migrating to the cloud in 10 simple steps
Data centre migration can be an intimidating prospect. When you move such a large amount of data, there will always be the perceived risk that something will happen to it, and it may become lost or corrupted. In the same way that a museum transporting an artefact will be cautious about it breaking in transit, a data centre migration could put key customer, client and business data at risk.
In truth, a data centre migration shouldn’t pose any risks if you follow a rigorous checklist, and ensure that each step is carried out properly. By planning the transfer, using the correct tools and procedures, and reviewing your work, you can ensure a smooth transition between data centres, and ensure the integrity and security of all your files.
What is data centre migration?
A data centre is often the lifeblood of your business’ digital presence. If you utilise cloud storage for offsite backups or remote access, this is where your information is stored. Your website is likely run from a data centre, as are any cloud applications you use, both internally (e.g. productivity software) and externally, such as customer-facing utilities. In short, almost everything you do online relies on the storage and delivery capabilities of a data centre.
Data centre migration can refer to a few different things. In its purest sense, data centre migration is the process of transferring an entire data centre to a new computing environment. However, there are other processes that could be referred to as data centre migration. Application migration refers to migrating one or more applications from one computing environment to another, essentially transporting a whole software environment wholesale to run it from another location.
Data migration meanwhile refers to migrating specific sets of data from one storage system to another – basically a big ‘copy-paste’ between drives. Each concept has specific use cases, reasons for implementation, and unique requirements and challenges to consider. Which one you undertake will depend on your requirements and reasons for doing so. This could relate to the speed or reliability of your current data centre, wanting to move data closer to your physical location or that of your customers, or wanting to harness new technologies and software.
How to migrate your data centre
Migrating your data centre is a multi-step process, but one that involves some common sense steps. As with any major business decision, migrating your data centre requires careful planning, precise execution, and the resources and oversight needed to ensure the process is completely successful.
A variety of data centre migration tools are generally used in this process to reduce risk and downtime. An enterprise’s migration requirements and business circumstances will determine which tool is best suited for its needs. To ensure a smooth transition to your new computing environment, follow the best practices in this data centre migration checklist:
- Identify the case for migrating your existing data centre to a new one. You may decide to migrate your data to a more modern platform in order to enhance your ability to scale the business, meet new technological requirements, improve customer relationships, and meet changing customer and client expectations.
- Gain approval for your migration plan. As your data centre migration will likely affect customer and client data, you should at least inform them about the migration plan, and ensure it is aligned with your projects’ goals.
- Delegate roles and responsibilities. Key roles in the migration process should be assigned to capable personnel, with key departmental figures overseeing and supporting the implementation of the project as it progresses.
- Assess your data centre’s asset portfolio. This will help you to identify the dependencies and technical requirements for specific data and applications, and outline the best process to transfer them to your new computing environment.
- Define your architecture and design requirements. Part of transferring to a new data centre is designing what the environment will look like, and the functionalities it will offer. This should be done with a mind both to facilitating existing data and utilising new features and technologies.
- Specify your methods. The precise method for transitioning to the new system and testing the new system should be planned out in detail, based on the information gathered in previous steps.
- Divide the migration process into batches. By preparing subsets of data to transfer – such as by category – you can then test each subset individually. If you are dealing with a large project and have the resources to manage it, several categories can be tested in parallel.
- Manage staff schedules. Ensure that staff have ample time to complete the tasks properly, and devise a workflow that ensures minimal impact to business operations. This should account both for the preceding steps and shutting down the source system, as well as the time taken to execute the migration.
- Review your logs. Ensure that you have a proper audit trail for the entire process, and consult your data logs to be sure that everything has been correctly migrated.
- Assess your success! Gauge the potential ongoing improvements of your data centre migration, and monitor the data quality of the new system.
If you want to learn more about data centre migration, or stay aware of any future updates, Sota have many years of expertise conducting data centre migrations. To explore our options and how they could benefit your business, get in touch with our expert team today.