Expert Blog: 10 Ways DCIM Software Can Help Plan a Data Center Migration

Photo Herman Chan
Herman Chan, President of Sunbird Software.

Data center migrations are complicated projects that can strike dread into the hearts of even the most experienced data center managers. Aside from organizing various teams for different aspects of the move, you also need to ensure that the right assets are moved and installed safely and correctly and keep all stakeholders apprised of progress and new developments. While checklists and similar organizational tools can help you keep track of key tasks, some items inevitably slip through the cracks.

Fortunately, planning a data center migration can be made simpler and effortlessly with the help of Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software. Using data center management software in conjunction with a data center move creates a single source of truth that can help keep your migration on track, on time, and on budget.

Here are 10 ways DCIM software can help you plan a data center migration more effectively:

  1. Auditing – Keeping track of your assets is difficult enough even outside of a data center migration. Using DCIM software for data center asset management before the actual migration will help you ensure that you have an accurate asset inventory of hardware and any software applications running on your equipment as a foundation for knowing what should be moved and what should be decommissioned.
  2. Enabling a single source of truth – With so many different teams taking part in the data center migration, it’s easy to become siloed and only use the data available in the management system used by your specific team. Your DCIM software can help to create a single source of truth for all teams – such as Facilities, Power, Network Engineering, Server, and even the physical movers – involved in the move. If you use a CMDB for data center change management, a comprehensive DCIM solution can integrate with it and other third-party data stores to ensure automated data population and accuracy.
  3. Facilitating a migration plan – A typical migration plan includes the assets to be moved, timeline, and criteria for success. DCIM software can help you develop this plan by serving as your go-to data store and tracking system for assets as they are moved.
  4. Building out the new space virtually – There are few things worse during a data center migration than moving in all your physical assets, only to find that you do not have enough capacity. DCIM software allows you to create a virtual buildout of the space – before physically moving the assets – so you can ensure that you have an adequate amount of capacity for each device.
  5. Searching for capacity – Data center software can help you make astute capacity planning, a major consideration for any data center migration. An intelligent DCIM software tool can help you search for the best location for your asset based on make and model or RU height and automatically account for information like the quantity of each asset to place in a cabinet or the number and type of data and power ports.
  6. Tracking power and connectivity – A robust DCIM solution won’t just help on the data center asset management, but it can also help you track the data center power path from the UPS to the PDU to the branch circuit to the rack PDU to the outlet to the device. Similarly, full network connection (PDF download) management enables you to track from the device NIC to the switch to the patch panel to the structured cabling so that you can quickly assess the impact of moves and appends in your new location and ensure that everything is structured correctly.
  7. Creating cabinet elevation diagrams – A cabinet elevation model can be invaluable for helping the data center migration team visualize efficiently how the completed cabinet should look after all hardware has been installed. DCIM software can create these diagrams automatically, even when assets are in the planned state and haven’t been installed, through information from the software’s models library.
  8. Measuring cable – Ensuring that you have the right lengths of cable can be difficult in a new site, especially if you have to waste time walking the data center floor with measuring tapes that are not quite long enough to go from one cabinet to the next. DCIM software can help you make accurate cable measurements based on floor map visualizations and will even take into account the vertical height from floor to device so you can order the right lengths of cable for your data center move.
  9. Managing and printing work orders – The capabilities of the data center change management in DCIM software gives you a single system from which you print out work orders that can be physically attached to the equipment to be moved. This limits the possibility of incorrect installations or connections when the moving team is adding equipment in the middle of the night and ensures that the information on each print out is accurate.
  10. Post-migration checks – Planning doesn’t stop once the physical data center move starts. Even before this point, you need to consider how to test that the equipment has been installed correctly. DCIM software can poll devices to check for power and connectivity so that your Network Operations Center (NOC) team sees polled power data and systems back online.  When conducting a spot audit to ensure that equipment is physically being installed and connected, you can compare the physical cabinet and connections with what is documented in your DCIM solution.

Whether you are just starting to consider a data center migration or are already deeply involved in the planning stage, you can leverage DCIM software for better organization and execution, to minimize the unexpected, and to guard against the oversights that can derail a data center migration project. Even before you’ve selected your new site, think about using data center software to help ensure a successful transition.

Want to learn more about how DCIM software can simplify planning a data center migration? Download our eBook: 7 Proven Tips for a Successful Data Center Migration.

This Expert Blog will be also published to the HostingJournalist WhatsApp channel. Subscribe here for free and stay informed, max one message a day.