For most enterprises, adding a colocated data center is usually a significantly easier task than creating a primary site from scratch. In most cases, established platforms and practices can be replicated fairly painlessly at the new location. Kemet used its main data center as a staging area for the new site.
"To ease the transition, we actually built all the new equipment in our primary data center," Burch says. "We synchronized all the data that was going to be replicated at the new site and conducted some tests to make sure everything was going to work the way it was supposed to." The equipment was then transported to the new data center. "We then simply turned it on and just let it catch up on what it had missed in the eight hours it had been in transit," Burch says.
To complete the job, the Kemet team conducted a series of tests to make sure that the new business continuity system would work flawlessly. "Once we had confirmed that, we basically declared it in production and then, a month later, we let our traditional [disaster] recovery contract expire," Burch says.
Careful planning and close attention to details are vital to a successful deployment, Burch says. "Most of all, look carefully at any contracts that might be involved with the new data center, particularly any disaster recovery or hosting contracts that could be either a positive or a negative in your planning," he advises.
Burch also urges organizations not to neglect their main data center when planning their new facility, particularly if they intend to use the new site in any sort of backup role. "We did our new facility in conjunction with upgrading all of the equipment in our current data center," he says.
Kemet also placed all-new equipment in its remote data center. "That's provided us with a good bit more flexibility as well as horsepower for our test and development environment," Burch says. "The developers are very pleased with that."
LexisNexis' Williams feels that finding a competent and trustworthy colocation partner is essential to the success of a secondary data center, since the provider will be responsible for delivering essential infrastructure services, including power and cooling. "The key thing is to find a partner that can provide what I would consider to be that intimate level of service -- meaning that you feel that you're the only client there."
John Edwards is a technology writer in the Phoenix area. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional reporting by Johanna Ambrosio, Computerworld's technology editor.