Have you ever gotten a call from a friend to help them move? When you arrive no packing has been completed, and they’ve rented a truck that’s much too small to make a single trip or even just three trips? Frustrating experience, right? Trying to perform or even plan a data center migration without proper service management is the same experience. It doesn’t matter if you are attempting to move a couple of dozen servers or several hundred or thousands of servers, an accurate inventory is on of the most critical prerequisites to planning a successful migration.
I’ve performed data center migrations for as many as 500 servers and as few as a couple of dozen servers. No matter the size I can consistently predict the difficulty of the move by the quality of the service management tools and processes, which include inventory. Proper service management helps you understand the what when and how in moving workloads. A proper inventory with application dependency mappings will go a long way toward making a migration go smoothly.
The devil is in the details
A common challenge I see is a lack of understanding of the volatility of inventory data. The datacenter is a complex system that changes much more frequently than most executives understand. While the number of workloads may remain static the configuration of the servers change dramatically over a short period. It’s this gap that catches many migration planners by surprise.
If the data source for application dependencies and inventory is static then, there’s the significant risk of underestimating the number and type of resources needed to perform the migration. Minor delays or workloads missed until the very last walk-thru are the best case scenarios. Worse case scenario is that unplanned service outages are experienced due to the dynamic nature of the data center or severe cost overruns are experienced.
It’s practical from an operations perspective to deploy a dynamic service management tool in even the smallest environments. If no budget for a tool exists, ask for the budget. At the very minimum create a process for regular refreshes of manually collected data. It is even most critical to have the tools, and processes deployed prior to undertaking the planning of the migration.
Service management. While not exactly exciting, strong service management can be a key and indicator to a less painful migration experience.