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Data Center Migrations: What Really Happens

Posted by QuoteColo on March 28, 2014 - Updated on March 18, 2014

data center migrations what really happens

What really goes on during a data center migration? Sure, your web hosting colocation company will inform you (hopefully) of a planned migration however they never really shed light on what takes place behind closed doors. Maybe it’s a case of you’re best not to know how the sausage is made or maybe it’s a case of your web hosting company understanding some things are best not said. Either way, this is what really happens during a colocation data center migration.

1.     Preparations

Make no mistake about it, the months and weeks leading up to a full web hosting data center migration is filled with massive preparation time. From arguments centering on how to properly transport servers, to arguments about the best time of night to physically move web hosting gear, to arguments about the phrasing of data center migration alert emails, the weeks and months leading up to a move is rife with the best laid plans. Just like an iceberg, as a customer you only see the tip of the overall berg, err, server migration.

2.     Sleep and A Tense Feeling

The day before/of a major server colocation migration, two major things take place: sleep and a feeling of nervous excitement. As most data center migrations take place late at night, the day before a migration your web hosting company team members will be fast asleep. To make sure the migration team is on point during the cloud hosting migration, team members are (should be) given the day off to rest up.

Once they awake an immediate feeling of nervous excitement takes over. If a move is scheduled to being at 1 am, team members will begin trickling into the office around 10 pm to sort out last minute details. Inevitably someone on your web hosting team will be sent to purchase massive quantities of coffee. In the time leading up to the start of a migration, team members are sitting on glass waiting for the migration to commence. The feeling is tense and exciting.

3.     A Flurry of Activity

The minute a colocation data center migration commences, NOC team members are busy un-racking servers and carefully placing them in the transport vehicle of choice. While this happens, members of the communications team actively send out up to the minute notifications via Twitter as to the status of the move.

Depending on the size of the migration, the initial flurry of activities will take anywhere from an hour to a few hours. Once all colocation servers have been un-racked and safely placed in a vehicle, the team carefully and quickly relocates to the new data center.

4.     Install and Wire

Upon arrival at their new data center, your web hosting company team will be busy unloading servers, racking servers, wiring servers and generally checking to make sure everything is installed correctly. Take it from us; this part of the process is filled with hours of detailed planning and yelling. The truth is even though preparations have been made for the migration something will go wrong. When it does, yelling (spurred on by all that coffee) will commence.

5.     Wired

Three hours into the migration. It’s 4 am. Too much coffee and not enough sleep. Everyone on the server migration team is wired. Wholly wired.

6.     Delirious Joy

The final stage of a full colocation server data center migration is delirious joy. Once the migration is complete and all colocation servers have been racked, stacked and wired, migration team members will experience a mix of joy and delirium. Remember, the team has been working through the night on a small amount of sleep and a whole hell of a lot of coffee. Once the migration is done, team members are happy – both that the move is complete and sleep is near.

Also, once the migration is complete, members of the communication team can finally send out notice to consumers that everything is alright.

Are data center migrations pretty things? No. Are data center server migrations best not seen by outside eyes? Yes. Are data center migrations a fact of life in the web hosting industry? Sadly, yes.

What Do You Think?