Differentiating Between Migration Moves

While this may seem academic, we have seen organizations spend millions with no results — all because their project lacked focus.

In today’s market place, data center migrations are frequently referred to as relocations, consolidations, cloud migrations, or hybrid migration. The ability to differentiate between the various types of data center migrations is fundamental to communicating what you are trying to accomplish. It facilitates a more intelligent conversation within an organization, its stakeholders, executive sponsors, and vendors.

A data center migration is a general, overarching term describing the process of moving IT systems, workloads, applications, and their infrastructure from their present operating environment to one or more new target environments, e.g., private/public cloud, colocation facilities, edge location, and/or an owned and operated data center.

Types of Migrations

  • Relocation
  • Consolidation
  • Cloud
  • Hybrid

Relocation

Data center relocations move infrastructure from their current location to a new location. It involves only two data centers: the sending data center (source location) and the receiving data center (target location). These are accomplished in the following manner:

  • Physical-to- physical (p2p or forklifts) 
  • Physical-to-virtual (p2v)
  • Virtual-to-virtual (v2v) 
  • Physical-to-cloud (p2c) 
  • Virtual-to-cloud (v2c) 

Increasingly, enterprises are electing to collocate in lieu of building new data center facilities. The exceptions are organizations in highly regulated industries with compliance requirements such as banking, health-care, and public utilities.  

The decision to build, buy, modernize or collocate a data center(s) is also influenced by an organization’s CapEx or OpEx posture.  If the goal is to maximize OpEx, then collocation is smart.  If not, CapEx compels a build, buy, or modernize approach depending on variables such as power consumption, cooling, footprint, cost, and timeline to operational readiness.

Relocation success starts with identifying the optimum target location; therefore, site selection is critical.

Consolidations

Data center consolidations reduce the number of physical data centers and/or the number of servers being used by either decommissioning legacy servers, repurposing servers, and/or the reducing servers via virtualization and/or hyper-converged technology.  The goal is to achieve a higher level of density and decreased footprint.  In many cases, the physical consolidation of facilities has similar attributes but also includes the sale of the facility, exit from a lease, and/or reuse of the space for other mission critical needs.  Here are several of the top benefits:

  • Less hardware
  • Power savings
  • Smaller network 
  • Lower facility costs
  • Reduced cooling loads
  • Fewer software licenses
  • Reduction in manpower

Consolidations are typically driven by server sprawl, mergers and acquisitions, a demand for higher density levels via virtualization, and cost savings from power and cooling consumption.

Cloud 

Cloud migrations move applications, workloads, systems, and infrastructure from a physical and/or virtual environment (p2c, v2c) to a private or public cloud provider, or it moves these systems in between cloud environments. 

While not necessarily less expensive than physical infrastructure, cloud infrastructure can transform the enterprise with greater agility and scalability through:

  • On-demand self service
  • Broader network access
  • Resource pooling
  • Rapid elasticity
  • Measured/metered services

Hybrid

The lines have been blurred between the different types of data center migrations.  Many organizations today require a hybrid enterprise environment where their infrastructure and systems operate across multiple IT landscapes.  These landscapes can include owned, leased and operated data centers, various private and public clouds (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, DRaaS), and colocation facilities.  A hybrid enterprise data center can provision and move applications with great fluidity between various infrastructures to optimize performance, security, and cost. But, the most compelling reason for the hybrid enterprise data center is the speed with which an enterprise can respond to market opportunities and competitive threats.  The IT department is no longer the bottleneck for rolling out new services, it’s the accelerator, dramatically transforming the IT landscape.

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