How to move a data center without having a heart attack

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Before the event, consider everything that can go wrong, make contingency plans, exploit opportunities to upgrade, and label everything

As the dust settles in the aftermath of a successful physical data center move, I'm nursing my bruised and cut hands, kicking back with a Scotch, and reflecting on what went right. I said "successful," but actually there's no such thing as a failed data center move: If something's going wrong, there's nothing you can do except keep working until everything's up and running.

But a successful data center move is no accident. Whether it's a data center relocation or new data center build-outs, detailed plans must be made months or even years in advance.

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There are a number of ways to move a data center. If budgets and skill sets allow, the easiest method is to build a brand-new data center in the new location, drop high-bandwidth links between the two, and use virtualization tools to migrate all the virtual machines from one site to the other -- live.

This assumes a fully virtualized infrastructure and a massive budget since you're duplicating the whole thing at the new site. And although very expensive, this method offers low-to-zero downtime and a brand-new computing environment with new servers, storage, and core networking at the new site. Plus, time and scheduling considerations are far less stringent. However, it's also out of the budgetary ballpark for most organizations.

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