Data Center Migration Challenges, Plan, Checklist and Tools

Data center migration

With the increasing requirements placed on IT departments, the availability of physical space has become limited within numerous data center facilities. Conversely, the rising significance of cloud services and hybrid clouds has prompted apprehensions regarding data center efficiency and utilization. Hence, the migration of data centers assumes a pivotal role in the IT strategy of enterprises.

This article helps you learn data center migration step by step. Starting with data center migration challenges, we address potential issues. This leads to crafting a strategic plan. The plan then shapes a practical checklist for execution. Finally, leveraging tools ensures efficient implementation.

What is Data Center Migration?

Data center migration, also known as data center relocation, involves transferring specific assets from one data center setting to another. There are various motives that can lead an organization to consider relocating a data center, including business expansion, company mergers, adherence to regulatory demands, office relocations, or transitioning to a cloud-based infrastructure.

Data Center Migration Challenges

  • Unplanned Downtime: Unforeseen downtime during data center migration can disrupt customer usage and result in financial losses. Mitigation strategies include staged migration, rollback plans, and dedicated tools.
  • Data Loss: Data migration is crucial but can lead to downtime, compatibility issues, and performance problems. Ensuring comprehensive data backups before migration is vital.
  • Network Latency: Overlooked but critical, network latency affects communication between applications during migration. Careful scheduling and traffic segmentation can minimize latency issues.
  • Cost Management: Enterprises must optimize resources and control costs during migration. Regular assessment, resource optimization, and exploring cost-effective solutions are essential.
  • Security Considerations: Migrating data and applications entails security risks such as compliance violations, breaches, and insider threats. Thoroughly assess potential security issues and implement measures for safeguarding data.

Plan the Data Center Migration

Initiating a data center migration project involves cataloging assets for relocation or retirement. This discovery phase can be manual or automated with third-party software. Irrespective of the chosen migration method, the objective is to define application needs and craft a migration plan that aligns with existing applications and future enterprise requirements.

Key Assessment Areas for Existing Data Center:

  • Contractual Obligations: Review terms and termination clauses of the current data center contract.
  • Hardware Inventory: Document physical servers and infrastructure equipment for movement or replacement.
  • Communications Inventory: List network resources like IP info, Internet networks, Telco lines, and domain details to be migrated, replaced, or retired.
  • Applications Inventory: Identify applications, their hosting hardware, and interactions with outside servers, creating a comprehensive map of connectivity.

Once the current environment is assessed, the next step is choosing the ideal migration destination. Consider these solutions based on organizational needs:

  • Cloud: Employ a mix of cloud and on-premises solutions via hybrid and multi-cloud deployments for simplified management and enhanced performance.
  • Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI): Embrace HCI for scalable, efficient deployment, integrating components into a single unit to simplify scaling and maintenance.
  • In-house Storage: Opt for modernized on-premises data centers to retain control over sensitive data, facilitating growth and optimization while possibly using private clouds.

Careful consideration of these aspects ensures a successful data center migration that aligns with both immediate and future needs.

Data Center Migration process
Data Center Migration Checklist

To ensure a seamless shift from your current computing environment to a new one, adhere to the best practices outlined in this data center migration checklist:

  • Requirements and Planning: Enterprises should meticulously plan site locations, network architectures, sizing projections, requests for information (RFIs), and communication strategies well in advance.
  • Infrastructure Assessment: Conduct a thorough review of the network architecture and related infrastructure for the new data centers. Ensure proper cable routing, cable management, and calculate cost matrices for link design.
  • Design and Estimation: Formulate data center migration strategies that consider whether to migrate low-level or high-level applications first. Anticipate potential challenges during the migration process and estimate resources accordingly.
  • Data and Application Migration Planning: Prioritize applications that require refactoring before migration. The IT team should create comprehensive test plans to verify the functionality of refactored applications.
  • Hardware Migration Planning: For data center migrations involving colocation and switches, take into account the relocation of sensitive hardware such as servers, storage, and network infrastructure. Special care is needed during server transportation due to susceptibility to electrostatic discharge and environmental conditions.
  • Target Data Center Verification: Conduct pre-production assessments of the new infrastructure to ensure seamless operation post-migration. Given the substantial cost of data center migration and infrastructure needs, early identification and incorporation of these factors in the decision-making process for data center selection are crucial.
  • Test and Validate: Perform rigorous post-migration testing to confirm the proper functioning of applications and systems. This includes testing high-availability components and conducting flyovers during maintenance windows. Depending on the workload type, conduct functional testing, performance testing, and other relevant tests.

By following these guidelines, you can enhance the likelihood of a successful data center migration while minimizing disruptions and maintaining the integrity of your systems and applications.

Data Center Migration Tools

When relocating, you should contemplate three primary categories of data center migration tools:

  • On-Premise Tools: Crafted for migrating data and applications within medium or large enterprise networks.
  • Open Source Tools: Developed and supported by the community, often available for free or at minimal cost.
  • Cloud-based Tools: Tailored for transferring data and applications to the cloud, encompassing various sources like cloud-based and on-premise data applications, stores, services, and more.


Data center migration serves as a valuable tool for enterprise growth by balancing loads. This intricate process is pivotal for business continuity during expansion. Beyond addressing the new infrastructure, the challenges tied to relocation must also be tackled. Thus, comprehensive pre-relocation planning is crucial for minimizing migration risks and ensuring a smooth transition.

Echo Huang

Echo Huang is an expert wordsmith and marketing professional at Bonelinks with more than 8 years of experience in high technology businesses – fiber optics, IoT, and telecommunication. She is very glad to share industry knowledge and communicate with others.

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