“How-to” instruction manual for data center migrations.

A data center migration can completely transform an organization’s overall operating environment, yielding significant and lasting benefits with an attractive return on investment. It is a highly-visibility, strategic project that can impact business operations, service level agreements, and performance availability.

A methodology specific to data center migrations helps to ensure operational stability. It provides a healthy balance between overbearing processes and the appropriate amount of rigor needed to produce an on-time, on-budget migration. It both guides and protects the organization.

David-Kenneth Groups data center migration methodology consists of five phases:

  • Phase 1: Initiation
  • Phase 2: Discovery
  • Phase 3: Planning
  • Phase 4: Execution
  • Phase 5: Closeout 

Key Challenges

  • Internal politics is a major problem in data center migrations. Consistent and unfiltered communication of project status to site staff, in particular, is essential. They can help resolve the political and business issues that are sure to surface.
  • A disaster is not just caused by nature, and business continuity does not just happen. Now is the time to update, or create, your business impact analysis and disaster recovery plans.
  • Move group planning is mission critical for your migration. Misunderstanding the interdependencies of your data center functions could mean anything from latency to complete system failure.
  • If a unanimous agreement cannot be met on a go/no-go migration execution order, especially if the disagreement is politically driven, the decision team should know in advance who is authorized to make the final judgment call. It is the best way to guarantee a clear outcome.


  • Start with a baseline of information about your existing data center(s). It should include preliminary details about your requirements, server population, major services, site infrastructure, organizational framework and resources.
  • Consolidation of existing assets reduces the scope of your migration saving time and money. Up to 33% of servers can be retired in larger organization, and monthly savings can be between 5-15%.
  • When assembling move groups, keep in mind the business priorities and use them to make choices. Distribute and minimize risk whenever possible.
  • Some error and performance issues are like needles in a haystack; however, in a post migration environment, they can wreak havoc. If sufficient testing is executed before the migration, it will minimize the potential pain of extensive post-migration errors.
  • When closing out a migration project, develop a strategy for decommissioning remaining assets. By liquidating, recycling or reselling what is useful, significant expenses can be salvaged.

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