Minimising Risk: Top 5 Challenges in Data Centre Migration
Author: Madz Wakefield
Organisations are at their most vulnerable during key IT transitions, like data centre migrations. In fact, data centre migration is one of the most critical and complicated IT transitions you’ll face today. With projects often being significantly high-cost and lasting for years, you need to be certain you can migrate successfully and avoid major incidents.
Knowing every single step of the data centre migration process, and efficiently seeing and managing all of that activity, is key to success. Without such visibility, these are some of the risk challenges organisations are facing:
1. Overtaxed change capacity
The rate of IT change in business is increasing. Most major organisations are currently undergoing a data centre migration of some kind; whether that’s consolidating existing services, moving to another physical data centre or moving to a private or public cloud. In fact, Gartner (via Forbes) predicts that cloud hosting will be propelled at a 23.31% compound annual growth rate through 2020, while BBC Research reports that the market for colocation is also skyrocketing, and is projected to rise 15.4% from 2016 to 2020.
Although payoffs in terms of cost savings, revenue and risk reduction are great, high levels of risk remain. Data centre migration typically triples the amount of change undertaken by an organisation. With 80% of incidents happening as a result of some kind of change, having the ability to perfectly manage the entire calendar of change has never been more essential. When you can visualise the entirety of your change roadmap, you can access key data that allows you to optimise and increase change capacity and reduce the risk of release contention ahead of time.
2. Ineffective planning and rehearsal
Without the ability to efficiently plan and rehearse change, a data centre migration is put at risk before it even begins. Doing this manually, via spreadsheets, phone calls and emails, is difficult and time-consuming - and when the plan ready, it still can’t offer the visualisation you need to spot issues or avoid risks like outages or rollbacks.
The technology and processes you use to plan and rehearse your event need to give you insight into every part of the change process, spanning both human and technical elements. When you can see all of those moving parts, you can plan and rehearse in more detail; the ability to identify all potential issues ahead of time minimises risk, while a realistic rehearsal ensures that your teams are as prepared as possible.
3. Understanding progress
Without real-time visibility into the change data, it can be difficult to fully comprehend progress during the migration itself. When data centre migrations are managed using spreadsheets, phone calls and emails, status reports are often out-of-date at any given moment, due to the length of time it takes to collate and communicate status reports. Without up-to-date information, trying to make fact-based decisions in order to move forward safely poses a variety of threats.
Equally, the quality of the data needs to be detailed enough to enable you to make the right decision at the right time. Where specifically are delays happening? Where are the risks? Where is extra attention needed? Only with great data can you quickly answer these questions with precision and take informed action.
4. Clunky communications processes
When disparate teams are having to spend time manually updating others on their progress, valuable time is being wasted. Streamlining communications processes helps free up those people to focus on the migration work itself, aiding overall progression efficiency.
If that streamlining is done in a way that brings everybody together to collaborate in one space, they’re also able to remain on the same page in real-time - from the workers on the ground to stakeholders and senior management. Then, communications aren’t just made quicker and easier, they’re also organised in a way that facilitates collaboration and aids decision making.
5. Painstaking audit process
Once you’ve completed your data centre migration, piecing together data for audit and post-event learning can be a mammoth task. Using spreadsheets, phone records and human memory to reconstruct the sequence of events - all while exhausted in the aftermath of the migration - doesn’t give you the accuracy needed to satisfy audit requirements or conduct effective post-event learning.
In order to meet audit requirements, satisfy regulators and promote continuous improvement, you need to capture the full progression of your data centre migration. With complete transparency into every action and understanding of accountability at every step, you’ll have all the information regulators could need, as well as the ability to focus teams on continuous learning for improved change in the future.
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