A data center migration project can be a change management nightmare for IT leaders. It is also a nightmare that IT managers may need to be ready to deal with, as a recent TechNavio study found that data center construction rates are set to rise during the next few years.
Organizations building new data centers can face major change and configuration management challenges. These issues are exacerbated by the primary motivating factors impacting data center construction.
The reasons behind the increase in data center building rates
According to the study, there are two motivating factors behind the current state of the data center construction market - high-density facility design and consolidation. On one hand, many businesses are either expanding their data centers or building new ones in an effort to support high-density principles. On the other, data center consolidation poses a potential threat to new construction because many companies are choosing to consolidate their facilities rather than build new ones.
From a change management perspective, however, both of these strategies present major challenges because they involve developing ways to migrate data effectively and optimize the entire configuration to support effective operations in a tightly-integrated environment. Furthermore, high-density setups and consolidation are closely related as many consolidated data centers end up being high-density environments.
The news source explained that data center construction rates will still increase despite some of the building projects being replaced by consolidation. TechNavio estimates that data center construction rates will increase at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 7.6 percent for the period of 2012 to 2016.
Getting change management programs in shape for data center migration
The processes that go into a data migration can seem like an insurmountable mountain of tasks that must be completed in concert with one another. Just assigning a project manager to the venture is not going to get the job done. Many companies will hire specialized companies to handle their move and migration, something that can pay off regardless of the business' change management capabilities. However, having a good change management system in place as part of the IT service desk can enable organizations to streamline processes, coordinate operations across various departments and stakeholders, manage risk effectively and keep critical systems running through the migration process.
Keeping data and applications available through a facility migration represents one of the greatest challenges facing IT service desk managers. If a single system gets shut off out of order it could lead to significant downtime for key applications or customer-facing content. These types of problems must be avoided, and they can be with the right change management solution in place.
Many companies will run their data center setup in a configuration that involves multiple systems operating redundantly with one another, ensuring that an unexpected outage of downtime event does not get in the way of productivity. This is not necessarily common practice, but it is becoming more feasible as organizations can duplicate content, applications and data through managed hosting, cloud and colocation plans that keep costs under control.
Because of this coordination, an organization migrating to a new data center can carefully manage change to ensure backup systems, regardless of where they are housed, take over before the primary systems are shut down. This creates a situation in which team members can work in conjunction with co-workers and service providers to ensure that downtime is avoided and data remains safe throughout migration. However, change must be performed without flaw in these processes because the business ends up depending on the backup configuration and no longer has its usual redundancy in place.
Organizations trying to consolidate their data centers, expand a facility or build a high-density IT setup need to carefully assess their change management capabilities and consider strategic upgrades to support migration.