IT Relocations and Data Centre Consolidations

IT Relocations and Data Centre Consolidations

Any organisation relocation, office move or data centre consolidation/migration involves a great deal of planning and preparation to make sure it is done well, on time and to budget.   There are few organisations nowadays that don’t depend on IT, which means that IT systems, networks and data centres can form the central and most complex part of relocations. Relocations need to be handled without error, as IT is the yardstick against which the success of a relocation is judged. The absence of a working network on the first day back can be catastrophic for an organisation. So there is no margin for error.

We have undertaken many successful IT relocations for clients – from large to small. Our success is based upon having specialist technical project managers applying a tried and trusted template which makes sure that nothing is overlooked. The planning, execution and post-move support are handled effectively – with client needs and quality taking centre-stage.

AiM Approach – TRANS4M

The AiM proprietary IT design and build template method TRANS4M is a tried and trusted means for de-risking such projects by employing best practices and templates to ensure success.  The method comprises three key stages within a project governance and stakeholder management wrap.

Stage 1: Specification and Design

This stage defines the planning stage of the project, in which business requirements of the project are understood and captured.  These requirements will vary per project, but can include opportunities to rationalise an organisation’s infrastructure, consolidate or move data centres, improve disaster recovery, reduce the technical and environmental footprint, migrate services from on-premise to a cloud strategy, reduce the IT Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) whilst maximising the Total Value of Operation (TVO).

Once documented, an operational review is executed, whereby an exhaustive analytical study is undertaken to understand an organisation’s current IT infrastructure or data centre configuration.  Key to this process is a discovery activity, whereby automated industry leading tools from BMC Software are used to discover, map and relate all the physical and virtual components of the IT network and data centres as well as business services, software, applications and data. This data is held in the project Configuration Management Database (CMDB) as the base-lined current state from which the change – eg a relocation or data centre consolidation – will be executed.  Not only will the CMDB provide a list of what IT assets an organisation has, but will help with the desired future state architecture and design, as well as identifying current vulnerabilities, risks and resilience concerns that need to be taken into account.

Once the business requirements and current state are understood, the desired future state can be architected and designed that fully and cost-effectively meets the drivers of the organisation. Depending on the requirement and objectives, a proof of concept activity may be run to test the solution and any rationalisation objectives.  The solution architecture and high level design will transition to a low-level design and Blueprint with final Business Case that will support the ongoing investment.  It should be noted that the project may also require changes to operational procedures.

Stage 2: Development and Build

This stage takes the design, and builds the solution.  A variety of activities may be involved, particularly where hardware, software purchasing and/or data centre or cloud hosting services are required.  A tendering process may therefore need to be executed to ensure that any solution partners in addition to AiM are the correct business and service fit.

The development process will build the solution to the highest standards, and undertake a thorough testing programme to ensure its fitness for purpose.  In other words, that the solution fully meets all the business requirements. Depending upon the nature of the change, stakeholders will be invited to see the solution as it develops and to start preparing for the migration following sign-off of the build.

Stage 3: Implementation and Handover   

This stage covers the installation and deployment of the moved or new infrastructure or consolidated data centres.  Discussions will already have been had on the implementation strategy and how the organisation and its data can be moved/migrated to the relocated or new infrastructure with minimal impact to business operations. The usual method for further de-risking implementation is to use one or more ‘dress rehearsals’ to check out and test the effectiveness and timings of the implementation plan.

As appropriate, this stage will also make sure that careful consideration has been given to the people and process side of the change.  Use case testing, instruction and training may all be relevant to ensure the business is ready for the change and the project delivers seamlessly.

A GO/NO GO decision matrix will be used to ensure business readiness for the change and there will be comprehensive early life support model to ensure the change embeds correctly into the organisation.  Once early life support has successfully been completed, handover of the solution will be made to the organisation and support with documentation transferred from the project to the support team as part of formal service introduction – either internal, AiM or another external managed service provider.

If an infrastructure or data centre has been replaced, consolidated or rationalised, then decommissioning the old system, hardware or site may be required to release residual asset value and to complete the implementation.

Closure of the project will be made once project governance completion activities have been executed, eg lessons learnt review, end project review and the benefit realisation plan is owned and in situ.

 

See also BMC Services, Digital Asset Intelligence