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Data Center Migrations: The Wrong and Right Way Pt. 3

Posted by QuoteColo on March 27, 2014 - Updated on March 17, 2014

data center migrations

Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men end of falling to pot. Anyone who has ever embarked on a full data center server migration understands that failure to hit target times and deadlines are a very real possibility. Like a spaceship rocketing into the heavens, the more moving parts a machine has the more likely something is to go wrong. Nasa knows this all to well. Colocation companies know it all to well also.

A data center migration, anyway you cut it, is a very large job. With numerous servers to rack, stack and connect matched with syncing network connections and ensuring all engineering bases are covered, a full data center colocation migration is a large-scale job with many moving pieces. Due to the complexity of a colocation server migration, things have a way of going wrong. With the combination of many moving parts along with a sleep deprived staff (remember, moves are happening late at night), it’s pretty typical for a web hosting company to run long on their scheduled server migration window.

This being said, what do you do if this happens? What does your colocation and Cloud hosting company do if you know you’re going to run long on your migration window causing consumers to be further impacted by downtime?

You keep your cool.

1.     Prepare for the Best, Prepare for the Worst

Every data center migration is rooted in preparation. Preparation will define how long it will take your team to get from your current data center to your new data center location. Preparation will define what hands you have on duty during the migration. Preparation will define the colocation migration window.

Preparation will always define how you handle failure.

Do: We prepare for everything to go according to plan. Not enough of us plan for things not to go according to plan. When conducting a data center migration, you need to plan for failure. You need to plan to run long, i.e. continue the migration outside of the scheduled window. These preparations include drafting communications explaining why the migration is running long and internally, bringing in fresh eyes to survey why the migration is running long.

With a sleep-deprived staff, bringing in fresh eyes to make sense of ongoing issues is your best course of action.

Don’t: Think everything will go according to plan. Don’t automatically assume everything will fall into place and the entire data center migration will be completed without a hitch. Don’t make the mistake of not planning for problems. Don’t make the mistake of not preparing communications speaking to why the migration ran long. Don’t make the mistake of assuming perfection.

2.     Time is Vital

Now that you have run long on your data center server migration, time is everything. Every minute eats into your client downtime and your reputation as a colocation, web hosting or Cloud server provider. Understand once you run over your migration window, time means everything.

Do: Get a move on it. Take a deep breath, bring in fresh eyes, analyze issues, figure out how to resolve snags and fix them. When you begin running long on your slated server data center migration, every second counts. For this reason it is vitally important that both your onsite and offsite support teams work in conjunction to route through issues, handle customer concerns and complete the migration as quickly as possible.

Remember, every second you are down, SLA credits will have to be given out. No web hosting company wants to do that.

Don’t: Panic. You’re running long. Your data center migration should have been completed an hour ago. It isn’t. Don’t panic. Remember, you planned for this. Follow your auxiliary plan and complete the job.

Additionally, keep clients in the loop. Now that your web hosting migration is running over, your clients are going to be pounding at your door to find out estimated time of completion. Do not shut them out.

Things might go wrong. Your planned data center migration might run long and hit a few bumps in the road. Be prepared for them. Don’t panic. Everything will be alright – your web hosting reputation depends on it.

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