Properly executing a data center migration plan allows businesses to optimize costs, improve service quality, and make well-informed strategic decisions that yield the most benefits.
However, completing such projects is certainly no walk in the park. To help you succeed, we’ll outline the main steps, provide tips on how to get the most out of the data center migration Discovery phase, and show you how to choose a reliable tech partner. Let’s begin!
The 4 steps of the data center migration plan
All data projects require careful preparation, planning, and cooperation with an experienced tech partner to succeed. When it comes to data centers, there are four main data center migration steps. If executed correctly, they will land you within the 15% of data projects that reach the expected results. The steps are as follows:
- Discovery. In this step, your partner analyzes your existing infrastructure (both hardware and software) and communicates with all involved teams. As a result, they create a list of recommendations for the most efficient data center migration approach that will help achieve your goals.
- Planning. The findings of the Discovery phase are used to create a clear roadmap for your project, together with the tools, technologies, and methodologies that will be used during migration.
- Implementation. In this step, your tech partner helps you bring the data center migration plan into fruition, be it by providing experts that support your existing team, or forming a full development team that takes care of the migration completely.
- Optimization. Working with data is a never-ending process that should be constantly analyzed and optimized. After the migration is complete, be it hybrid or from on-premise to the cloud, you need to periodically review and optimize workloads by, for example, utilizing third-party services, introducing new types of automation, monitoring, and managing the use of infrastructure resources, etc.
How to get the most of the data center migration discovery phase
A proper Discovery phase can help you obtain an efficient and cost-effective plan for migrating your data. While the process itself can be challenging, there are ways that can help you get the most of it.
Ensure that your project requires a Discovery phase
Even though the data center migration Discovery phase can bring many advantages, it is important to understand that it is not mandatory and can (and should) be avoided in some cases.
For instance, you cannot (effectively) migrate a big part or the entire data infrastructure from on-premises to the cloud without going through a Discovery phase. These are long and complex processes where a comprehensive plan is an absolute must, with details about which cloud service providers should be used, which infrastructure elements should be migrated first, steps to complete the migration without affecting the live end-users, and so on.
On the other hand, small infrastructure migrations that, for example, simply automate a process that had to be done manually do not require a comprehensive study or analysis.
Furthermore, enterprises that operate in certain industries, such as finance or healthcare, have to keep most of their data on-premise for added security and have no need for large-scale migration to the cloud. Therefore, they rarely need a Discovery phase to complete what they intend.
Involve the right people
Data center migration often includes changes in infrastructure configuration or updates of existing solutions. To provide recommendations that will lead to actual benefits, your partner that will be conducting the Discovery phase will require lots of technical information about your existing infrastructure. Therefore, it is important to involve high-level experts from your side to support the discovery team. These include but are not limited to system architects, solution architects, project managers, etc.
Set clear goals that you want to achieve
To complete a successful data center migration Discovery phase (and the entire migration, for that matter), you must establish clear end goals first. This means not only strategic business goals, like attracting more customers or improving the service quality. These should be technical goals as well, such as decreasing latency or outlining the processes you want to automate.
The discovery team will then be able to provide suggestions and recommendations on the most efficient and cost-effective ways of achieving these goals.
How to find the right provider of data center migration services
The provider of data center migration services plays an important role in the success of your project. However, finding the right partner in the huge multi-billion market of data services is not easy. Here are a few best practices that will make it easier for you to make the right choice.
Choose the right location
Before you begin the search for a tech partner, it is important to settle on the location where you will look for one.
Asia has long been one of the most popular tech outsourcing destinations, mostly due to the lower billing rates of local experts. Furthermore, Asia, and, more specifically, India, hold the largest IT talent pool in the world, which surpassed 4M in 2020.
While partnering with local data center migration services providers certainly has its perks, it is also a double-edged sword. Finding the right partner in such a huge market can take up more time due to the sheer amount of candidates that you have to go through. Additionally, many Western enterprises encounter challenges when forming effective communication with local teams. This is caused by cultural and work ethics differences, as well as technical and Internet issues that plague some regions.
South America is another popular destination to search for tech partnerships. The region has a large talent pool and one of the fastest-growing IT markets in the world. However, the local IT industry is relatively young when compared to other popular destinations. This can hinder the process of finding a partner with sufficient experience to undertake such an intricate project as data center migration.
Finally, there’s Eastern Europe, which is considered by many to be the most optimal destination to look for providers of data center migration services. Even though the local talent pool cannot match the size of its Asian and South American counterparts, it offers superior experience and expertise. Indeed, the largest countries in the region - Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine - are among the top 10 countries worldwide with the most skilled engineers, according to TopCoder.
Additionally, cultural similarities and good overall knowledge of English allow local teams to easily establish effective communication with their Western partners. This is an especially important aspect when you need to choose and implement the right data center migration approach.
Analyze your partner’s experience and expertise
Examine your partner’s portfolio to get a better idea of their experience. Whether it’s their website or one of the business review platforms such as Goodfirms or Clutch.co, look for successful projects with goals and, ideally, domains that are similar to yours.
Additionally, analyze the services that your potential partner provides, as data center migration requires expertise in a wide range of technologies. Do they have a data team with experience in Big Data, Data Science, AI & ML, Data lake development, etc.? Are they proficient in the 3 leading cloud service providers - AWS, Azure, and GCP? Do they have any official certifications to prove it? Can they provide experienced DevOps engineers who can bring the necessary optimization and automation into your development processes?
Even if you do not have an outstanding need in particular expertise, it is not unlikely for that need to appear in the future. The right partner will save you the time and effort that you would spend looking for necessary experts.
At N-iX, for example, we have a strong Data Unit of 130+ experts with experience delivering projects in a variety of domains, such as telecom or industrial supply. Additionally, we have solid cloud development expertise, supported by official partnerships with three main cloud service providers. Finally, N-iX has over 40 DevOps engineers with expertise in Infrastructure as a Code, infrastructure optimization and orchestration, CI/CD, configuration management, and more.
Inquire about your partner’s data security practices
As an entity that will have first-hand access to your data, it is important to make sure that your partner keeps it protected, both during and after migration. Your partner has to comply with all established data security standards, including GDPR, ISO 27001:2013, HIPAA, and others.
Moreover, you should inquire whether your partner follows the common best practices that ensure secure data handling. These include:
- Data caching;
- Data traffic encryption;
- Use of static code analyzers;
- Vulnerability scanning of third-party libraries.
Assess the questions asked during the data center migration Discovery phase
Finally, one of the surest ways of learning whether your partner has sufficient expertise for the upcoming project is by paying close attention to the types of questions they ask during the Discovery phase.
The data center migration Discovery phase usually lasts from several weeks to up to a month. During this time your partner communicates with all teams that are involved in your data delivery pipeline to learn as much information about the infrastructure as possible. The basic rule of thumb here is the more specific and detailed the questions they ask - the better. If, after several weeks of communication, your partner keeps asking basic or trivial questions - most likely they will not be able to provide a solid migration plan that will yield any tangible benefits.
How can N-iX help you successfully implement all data center migration steps?
- N-iX provides a wide range of data-related services, from Big Data and Business intelligence to AI & ML and Data analytics;
- N-iX is an official AWS Consulting Partner, a Google Cloud Partner, and a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner;
- We have a strong team of 40+ DevOps engineers that have successfully delivered over 50 projects;
- N-iX is a well-established name in the IT industry that constantly reaches the highest spots on various Top service provider lists from platforms such as Clutch.co and Goodfirms;
- We comply with all established data security standards, such as GDPR and PCI DSS;
- N-iX works with many leading global enterprises, such as Gogo, Lebara, OfficeDepot, Fluke, Grainger, and more.