Are you considering relocating your data center? Or maybe you’re thinking about moving your entire organization. Either way, we know moving can be an extremely stressful (and expensive) process, and one you’d prefer not to repeat often, so we’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you address, and consequently avoid, common oversights when moving. Whether you’re moving for business or technology reasons, remember that, when moving day comes, it is important to establish and maintainfocus. It is likely that everything will not go exactly according to plan. Focus, combined with a well-developed plan, will help you overcome the speed bumps, and before you know it you will be settled in your new location and back in the flow of day-to-day business.
1. Think ahead – It is never too early to begin planning for your move. Moving a company is a huge project, and it is always beneficial to develop a well thought-out game plan. Moving is a good opportunity to take inventory, so to speak. Are you planning to move your communication system as a whole, or use the move as an opportunity to upgrade? Perhaps you’re considering moving to Unified Communications as a service (UCaaS). Regardless of where you stand, don’t just plan for today. Assess the needs and analyze the growth of your business up to ten years ahead, that way you get the most out of your move.
2. Location, location, location – Aside from moving to a location that is convenient for your customers, it is important to look at a low-risk location in terms of natural disaster. Also in terms of safety, avoid locations near major highways as part of risk mitigation. Conduct an analysis to determine whether the intended site is suitable to house your data center. Aside from geography, other factors to consider include power availability and budget.
3. Power – When you are moving it is important to consider what your current and future power needs will be. Some questions to consider are: Is power abundant? (This is perhaps the most important question to ask), where are you on the power grid? Are there at least two sub stations providing power to the building? Does the building have a backup generator? According to a Transitional Data Services report, in 2010 data centers consumed about 2 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S., and the same report projected that power consumption would continue a rapid growth. Any site under consideration should have easy access to abundant power from multiple sources of electricity, taking advantage of low cost providers whenever possible. When assessing your power needs, also consider the following:
- Fiber – Be sure to research how many and which fiber providers connect to the building.
- HVAC – does the AC run only during the week? This is often overlooked but it is important to keep your server room cool during the weekends too.
4. Budget – While it is difficult to estimate a fixed budget for a project as complex as a move, you can alleviate some stress in this area by taking an in-depth look at what hardware and software your company is using. That old PBX that you’ve been using for the past 10 years might not be worth moving, so why pay to have it moved?
5. Enlist your employees – Before you begin the moving process, it is important to note which employees will be involved in the move and keep them informed every step of the way. Once you know who will be involved, determine how your manpower will be allocated: What will employees be responsible for? Be sure to announce what the company will and will not transfer with the move.
6. Data backup – Just as the IT staff should perform data backups prior to the move, you should also remind your employees to back up their personal work computers before the move as well. This will help to limit downtime once the move is complete.
7. Communications – We may be mentioning this tip last, but that doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly. If your move is communicated poorly, it could result in customer resentment and consequently a loss of business for you. Be sure to give advance notice, not just a last minute e-mail. MARKET, MARKET, MARKET: tell your customers you are moving and how your new facilities will better accommodate their needs.
Proper planning can help you avoid prolonged downtime and business disruption, as well as the need to move more often than necessary. These tips are a good start to help you prepare for your move. As the economy continues to change, an increasing number of organizations are relocating their data centers and offices as a whole. Good luck with your move!