Today, there are over 3 million data centers in the United States, or roughly one per every 100 people. As needs continue to change, and demands outgrow facility capabilities, data center relocations will become increasingly prevalent. Perhaps you are already looking at relocating a data center of your own but are looking for a place to start.
While relocation requires extensive planning, budgeting, and some heavy lifting, it can be accomplished efficiently and effectively with the right experience and guidance. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the most important factors to consider during your relocation project in order to ensure your team reaps all the many benefits migrating your facility can provide. Let’s get started on your plan and set the stage for a successful transfer.
Start with an Effective Plan
As with any major action, a solid plan makes data center relocation that much easier. Start by selecting a project manager along with important team members. Ideally, the team will comprise of staffers with the technical expertise to improve the transition of your data center. Your project manager will help with every aspect of the transition, from selecting the best vendors to accounting for all the hardware, infrastructure, and even IT needs of the new facility.
This plan is the guiding force necessary to keep the move on track, both on time and worth the effort. When it comes to the infrastructure of your new data center, important considerations to begin with include:
- The size of your current UPS loads
- The kind of redundancy you require at your new location
A proper migration plan should include matching your new server loads with the power distribution systems at the new site. For instance, many new customers have dual corded power supplies, necessitating a change in architecture from the old data center to the new data center.
Furthermore, your plan should encompass information pertaining to the data center destination and infrastructure. If you haven’t already, leaning on the expertise of a consultant who has successfully migrated data centers in the past can help expedite and streamline this process.
Complete an Audit of Your Current Data Center
We recommend hiring a professional to conduct a site survey needs assessment to ensure you are getting the most useful information possible from this audit process. A data center audit is a much-needed step in the process to establish the requirements and “wants” of the IT department. Too often a data center is designed top-down and in the end, the IT Department doesn’t end up with what they intended to have, or even what they need.
A site survey should resemble an “inside out” approach, starting with the data racks and moving outwards to the electrical and mechanical components of your facility. Additionally, an “outside in” approach can be effective in determining Utility Service capacity, overall power, and hvac mechanical distribution size. The most successful relocation projects match those two perspectives together so the facility is maximized for power and cooling, and the delivery to racks is as efficient as possible.
Account for Hardware Migration
Both data and hardware must be migrated to the data center. If you must transport hardware that is sensitive, rely on a team of experienced specialists to do the work, and design a data center infrastructure which leverages your new and existing hardware optimally.
Don’t Forget About HVAC, Power Backup Equipment, and Generators
HVAC systems are an absolutely essential component of every data center. The excessive amounts of heat generated as hundreds or even thousands of your servers continue to run simultaneously must be managed effectively in order to retain optimal functionality of your equipment and your data center as a whole.
While today’s computing equipment has become much more efficient in terms of power usage, cooling needs, and overall physical footprints, understand that these changes in technology are also reflected in the needs of your new facility. Make sure you work with a company experienced in designing and installing HVAC systems for optimal efficiency. Not only will this help you reduce long term cooling costs, but it will also have a major impact on how productive your data center is.
Power backup equipment, such as UPS systems and generators are equally important. Planning for and making decisions regarding these important pieces of an equipment are best done during a transition, rather than after the facility has already been moved. That way, you can design your new facility around your equipment, and vice versa, for the best possible set up.
Evaluate Destination Options
When determining the destination of your new facility, it is important to compare the size of the site you’re coming from to that of the new site to ensure it meets your requirements.
Additionally, many customers will seek to convert an existing building or facility into a new data center. This is a popular option, as it can help to significantly reduce costs across the entirety of the project.
During the touring process, you will want to work with an expert to identify both the benefits of your new facility, as well as the aspects which will need to be improved. This information will provide you with valuable intel you can use to estimate conversion costs, or compare the build-out costs of different sites.
This process should include analyzing:
- Existing electrical systems for data center capacity
- Available utility power capacity
- The structure of the building for handling data center infrastructure loads
- Geographical/environmental factors for mechanical systems, and more.
Do not commit to the first destination that you find. Furthermore, it is a mistake to base your decision solely on cost. Take all the different factors of potential relocation sites into account, ranging from size to cost, nearby traffic, the age of the facility, and more before deciding.
Build a Data Center Migration Checklist
Your checklist will have each of the most important components of the migration listed for easy reference during the project. Adhere to this list and your team will be able to check off each task as it is completed, setting the stage for a timely and effective migration. Ideally, this checklist will be comprehensive to the point that it has a full list of to-dos, including information pertaining to those responsible for each item. This checklist can also be used as a key component for the tests conducted after migration.
Assume There Will be Challenges and be Prepared for Anything
In short, always plan for the worst but hope for the best. While planning a successful data center relocation will not be easy, it is absolutely possible. Expect the unexpected, plan accordingly, and perform extensive post-migration testing after the transition is complete.
FGC Construction is on Your Side
If you are planning on relocating your data center, you need not attempt to do all the work on your own. Our team has extensive experience in data center construction for facilities of all sizes and numerous critical infrastructure projects. Focused on your project requirements, budget, and outcome, we are here to help with the entire scope of your project. Reach out to us today to find out more about our services.
You can contact us by dialing (855) 240-6776 or by filling out our convenient online contact form.