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Effectively Managing Data Center Migration Projects
Philip Longley, Senior Consultant
Sunday, May 22, 2016

Managing data center migration projects is a big task: You need to design and build new infrastructure; install, move and configure new systems; and consider dependencies and connectivity between all systems. The demands on resources can be significant, and the costs are typically high; in fact, running old and new solutions concurrently may be as costly as deployment and hardware combined.

Testing, installation and data migration assure that overlap between your new infrastructure and the old is almost inevitable.

Even a lift and shift may require some setup in advance. In order to minimize parallel running time, you’ll need a strong project management team to seamlessly orchestrate your migration.

Managing migration costs

Accurate measurement and modeling are ways to keep parallel running costs to a minimum. A precise understanding of when you’ll begin incurring costs for new systems and when costs will phase out due to decommissioning is also essential to your data center migration project. This cost model will form the basis for evaluating plans and project decisions and reveal where to place your priorities.

Underlying infrastructure typically attracts the greatest expense, because it’s the largest cost center and has to keep running for the duration of the project. Large systems or systems with extensive testing periods will attract the next highest cost.

Planning your migration

Work out the technical and resource dependencies, develop your plan for these large systems and then fit in the small ones. Make your plans robust but flexible so you can pivot if any unexpected situations arise; it may be better to deliver the project later and save on parallel running costs if your teams can’t get to the newly deployed systems because of delays elsewhere.

In order to account for any constraints on resources, it may be necessary to run several work streams in parallel. Doing so will shorten the overall length of the project and reduce costs. A highly skilled project management team is essential to managing the level of complexity required by this approach.

Considering all parties

If you have dependencies on third parties, alert them early on in the project so they can advise and make provisions in their resource plans, which will prevent delays to the project. Escalating timelines may force you to find ways to cut the budget, and trimming back the old underlying infrastructure can come to the rescue; just make sure you understand your dependencies. Remember: the cost savings can be substantial, but you can only go to that well so many times.

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