A data center relocation (DCR) project can seem a daunting effort to any organization staring it in the face. The need for DCR may be the result of a merger/acquisition, expiration of data center lease, renewal of a provider’s contract, or the fact that you've run out of space, power or cooling. Whatever the root cause, the need for a studied and measured approach toward a resolution is both warranted and required for risk mitigation and a successful transition -- herein also lies opportunity.
As a principal consultant for Datalink, involved in many data center relocations, I encourage those of you facing a relocation effort to view this as a chance to transform your data center. By data center transformation, I mean seizing the rare opportunity to redesign and optimize various aspects of your data center, so that the resulting target operating model is more efficient in terms of space, power, cooling, real estate density and more operationally optimized across the entire technology stack. This approach considers consolidation, automation and management. I refer to this as an “Improve While You Move” strategy as the phrase aptly defines the aims of such an approach.
Data center transformation begins with the discovery and definition of the current operating baseline. While this includes a detailed understanding of the IT assets, technical configurations, data center and infrastructure, it also examines the operating model: looking at skills, process and tools and evaluating their efficacy against stated requirements. Thus, transformation activities begin to take us down the path of defining IT by the services it provides, rather than a provider of technical products.
For many clients, server virtualization still provides value in data center transformation, even if it means sweeping up laggard applications into the virtualized pool. Beyond this, there is opportunity to extend virtualization operationally with automation, monitoring and self-service, as well as vertically to be more inclusive of storage, networks and the user presentation layer (e.g. virtual desktops/images). This iData center transformation also considers whether IT services and their assets should be relocated and retained, or whether it makes business sense to move them to the cloud or managed services providers. To do this, having some understanding of the cost of internal service delivery is important. Today, many clients are pursuing the development or advancement of IT service catalogs as a prerequisite for mature data center transformation because it establishes the baselines for making the internal versus external services decision.
If you are faced with a data center relocation, take some time to evaluate it as a real transformation opportunity. The potential medium-to-long term benefits often include strong ROI, otherwise unseen to those who do not look for it, do not know where to look for it, or do not take the time to look for it.
Improve while you move!