Data centre migration made simple

By Assaf Skolnik
An expert's breakdown of how to execute a successful data centre migration...

Whether packing and labelling boxes to ensure precious possessions are protected and put in the right place or to simply keep a kettle within easy reach, planning is essential for even the most straightforward of house moves or renovation projects.

And the need for a well-considered plan, one capable of deriving order from potential chaos, increases exponentially with scale; as does the severity of consequences for failing to prepare properly.

While prematurely pulling a plug in a family property may result in a freezer full of food going to waste, flicking a switch too early in the relocation or rehousing of a data centre – a complex digital city “home to” countless components – can be catastrophic, disrupting business-critical services in the blink of an eye and costing millions of dollars in lost revenue. 

Put simply, disconnecting a single port without a forensic understanding of the impact it will have on other devices and services can have a far-reaching ripple effect and is logistical lunacy. 

Migration, however, need not be a migraine or monetary minefield if all of a data centre’s physical assets, workflows, policies, services and network connectivity are comprehensively mapped and meticulously documented. 

Such situational awareness – despite its value to the everyday efficiency and operation of a facility – is, remarkably, the exception rather than the rule though, according to Joe McCaffrey, a mechanical and electrical specialist at construction consultants Duke McCaffrey.

Like an attic full of forgotten treasures or garage crammed with uncatalogued items that only reveal the true extent of their content during a move, the majority of data centres have plenty of surprises to be found in their cabinets, overhead trays and underfloor channels – often as a consequence of rapid expansion and adopting a “bolt-on” approach to administrative systems.

“For many data centre expansions or retrofits, we’re often starting with a blank sheet of paper when it comes to an asset register,” explained Joe, who has a wealth of experience of supporting data centres across Europe and the Middle East.

“Undertaking a detailed inventory of a data centre to cost and space plan is imperative, so having a tool that has a record of every switch, plug and cable would of course be one that helps commercial viability planning. 

“DCIM [Data Centre Infrastructure Management] has been on many cost consultant’s lines since its inception – but there just hasn’t been one good enough to support the planning process.” 

Indeed, accurately recording such an environment represents a huge undertaking, but it is an analytical feat that automated infrastructure specialist RiT Tech is accomplishing. 

XpedITe, the company’s next-generation data centre, network, infrastructure and operations management system, can mine and correlate data from multiple databases and systems to provide a single, trusted and real-time source of information. 

Once verified manually by RiT Tech’s expert teams to account for any assets that pre-date or have been missed off previous registers, XpedITe removes a significant burden from the shoulders of all those responsible for running and preserving digital services by becoming an all-seeing eye and enabling the ability to orchestrate operations across all sites and assets in any given network. 

Armed with a complete and high-fidelity picture that bridges previous gaps between disparate systems and environments, migration goes from being a mission wrought with risk to a controlled and easy-to-manage process.

XpedITe brings expediency to the transition by identifying any potential points of failure, flagging impacted devices and – using its advanced algorithms – producing accurate work orders for execution (even by third party operators), in order to maintain continuity of service. 

However, this hi-tech tool’s attributes go far beyond the planning of which plugs to pull and replace first during a migration. Indeed, a data centre does not need to be on the move to benefit.

XpedITe enhances everyday operations by enabling points of failure and breaches of physical security to be immediately detected, optimising networks and mitigating against any unnecessary or unplanned downtime. Its automated work orders significantly reduce maintenance times and any network changes can be implemented and properly labelled with complete peace of mind having been forensically thought through.  

Regardless of its point of introduction in a data centre’s lifecycle, RiT Tech’s innovative solution delivers reassurance and a return on investment. Whether utilised to plan a new facility, improve the efficiency of an existing site or manage self-migration, XpedITe’s live data allows informed decisions to be made quickly today, while planning, provisioning and preparing for tomorrow. 

As Benjamin Franklin – one of the founding fathers of the United States of America – so eloquently put it “by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail” and in the data centre sector there is no longer any excuse for doing so.  


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