Colocation providers allow for acceleration of business in ways that allow enterprises to move quicker and be more nimble
There are a number of trends driving the migration from on-premises to colocation facilities. First there is a need for data management and storage as an extension of the customer’s business, rather than a separate entity. Seamless flow of critical information and actions between provider and customer ensures fast and accurate business decisions.
Large enterprises will also drive colocation adoption. Businesses looking to shed the large investments they made years ago will either engage a colocation provider in a sale/leaseback arrangement or look to migrate their workloads to a national provider who can offer an appropriate set of locations and scale to meet their needs. And as more and more enterprises execute a multi-cloud deployment strategy, they will choose to make their colocation footprint be the centrepiece of that strategy.
Is colo for me?
For one reason or another, most enterprises will likely need to consider a data centre migration at some point during the operational lifespan of their IT environment. The need for colocation migration often stems from a business change, such as high-availability needs, running out of space to expand your IT footprint, a pending hardware refresh, business relocation, and the need to enhance protections by gaining geographic diversity.
A successful migration should be seamless should have little to no downtime. Ultimately, if you have achieved a successful migration, you will see increased efficiency, improved cost-effectiveness, high availability, and will achieve a competitive edge.
In the beginning stage of carrying out a migration, identifying the ideal place for the IT environment to live is a key starting point. Businesses must determine where their customer bases can be best serviced from an IT perspective.
A crucial starting point involves assessing your current environment and identifying what needs to be moved. Assure you have an updated inventory of your IT environment before you begin, and create lists to track your migration plan from both a services and application perspective.
Don’t forget to establish your network at the new location and thoroughly test communication. Under no circumstances should you simply rely on copying configurations for network infrastructure.
Next, establish a migration methodology to ensure nothing is missed. Is it a “forklift” process, where equipment will be picked up and moved? Or is it a swing migration, during which uptime is required throughout the entire migration process? If a cloud migration strategy will be used, determine how large volumes of data will be transported. Will your company use network storage appliances or use software capable of over-the-wire data transfers? Remember, a combination of various tactics can be used.
There are three areas that can pose difficulty when switching to colocation. The most challenge is moving workloads. Understand that different workloads necessitate different deployment options. For instance, some workloads work best in the cloud, some should only be on-premise and others can benefit from a hybrid IT approach.
Another common issue is migrating applications. It is vital to have a clear understanding of the business criticality and dependencies of each application you are migrating. A reputable provider will have the depth and breadth of capabilities to classify all applications and add them to a product catalogue for a risk and supportability assessment. A detailed test plan for user acceptance integration and performance testing is necessary as well.
It’s also critical to support, monitor and manage the data during and after migration. In addition, the order of machine bring-up following a move is important. If you start up certain applications ahead of others they depend upon, you may experience performance and operational impact to the business.
To make your migration as smooth as possible, consider an IT partner. Determine whether your team has the adequate internal resources to execute a successful migration. If self-migration is preferred, remember that third parties can still be a great option to help with the physical move, which frees up your engineers to assist with the data migration.
Last but not least, test your migration plan. Complete a series of tests that takes applications through the process to make sure the steps you lay out are foolproof. Avoid migrating your platform for the first time on the same day as your actual migration. Testing will provide a better understanding of how to go through the migration process and identify potential roadblocks.