Data Center Consolidation A Foundation to Cloud Computing

IT organizations have undergone rapid, organic growth and organizations continually scramble to meet the ever-increasing demands of the business. New applications, emerging technologies and alternative solutions have mushroomed. Mergers and acquisitions have added to the proliferation of these resources. The result is a landscape of multiple data centers, large and small, scattered across the enterprise, each with a significant population of grossly underutilized technology assets. Some of those assets are even be located outside of the data centers — in branch offices, storage closets, or employees’ homes. This rampant decentralization has inevitably resulted in a complex process that is fragmentation.  This has led to increased interest in data center consolidation

CONSOLIDATION/MIGRATION BACKGROUND

  • Risk and uncertainty shadow every project but loom large over complex projects such as data center consolidation/migrations because migrations involves multiple layers of personnel — both staff and contractors .

  • Identifying the potential pitfalls involves pulling together information from many sources.

  • While there may be little practical knowledge of all the risks and hazards that can await consolidation/migrations team, the consequences of not having a functional IT environment when users need it are significant .

  • One solution is to develop plans that key off the loss of IT functions and to prioritize system needs relative to the mission.Having response plans for various scenarios, you can ensure that critical systems and applications remain available.

  • Each consolidation/migration has its own unique set of challenges, such as the destination not being ready for occupancy on time, delayed hardware delivery or the loading dock not being large enough to accommodate the equipment.

  • Not only do you have to plan for risks occurring, but you need to include time in the schedule to accommodate changes and adapt to modifications as issues surface.

There are three primary components that must be established to ensure a successful consolidation, develop the consolidation reference architecture, define the next generation attributes, and define the service catalog for the consolidated datacenter.

                                 Consolidation.jpg 

To accomplish this a highly interactive process is needed to identify, prioritize, and map the threats, risks, mitigation actions, possible roadblocks and solutions required to consolidate/migrate and transition data center workload.   The results of this process will be:

  • Develop A Comprehensive Understanding Of Transition Plan.

  • Based On Sound Consolidation Experience WithOther Organizations

  • Evaluates Weaknesses and Identifies Enabling Technologies or Actions that Mitigate Risks

  • Prioritization And Focus Of Critical Resources That Enable Reliable Consolidation/Migrations

  • Leverages Internal Customer Expertise Relative To Data Center Consolidation/Migrations

  • Introduction Of Methods Or Approaches To Drive Higher levels of Availability

Each datacenter need to be reviewed for existence of critical processes, the effectiveness of those processes and usability of the process.  Some processes include:

  • Virtualization & Server Clustering

  • Business Continuity & Data protection

  • Backup & De-Duplication

  • Data Classification

  • Virtual Tape

  • Tiered Storage

  • Compliance & Regulation

  • Heterogeneous Platform Management

  • Private Cloud & Managed Services

KEY CONSOLIDATION FACTORS

Key Consolidation Factor.png 

DISCOVERY AREAS TO BE ESTABLISHED AND DISCUSSED

Current Configuration

  • # of: Platforms, Servers, Storage Arrays, Operating Systems, Hypervisors, Etc.

  • Data Bases

  • Unstructured Data Types & Uses

  • IT Architecture

  • Growth & Change Rate

  • Critical Systems

    • Key Dependencies & Data Flow

    • Managed Services

    • Transaction Volume

      • Time of Day

      • Day of Week

      • Level of Integration

        • 3-tier Architecture

        • Shared Infrastructure

      • Management Structure/Organization

      • Requirements

        • Budget Cost

        • Level of Effort

        • Legal, Regulatory

Current Configuration

  • # of: Platforms, Servers, Storage Arrays, Operating Systems, Hypervisors, Etc.

  • Data Bases

  • Unstructured Data Types & Uses

  • IT Architecture

  • Growth & Change Rate

  • Critical Systems

    • Key Dependencies & Data Flow

    • Managed Services

    • Transaction Volume

      • Time of Day

      • Day of Week

      • Level of Integration

        • 3-tier Architecture

        • Shared Infrastructure

      • Management Structure/Organization

      • Requirements

        • Budget Cost

        • Level of Effort

        • Legal, Regulatory

Consolidation / Migration Strategy Alternatives

  • Migration Approaches

  • Number of sites

  • Facility Requirements

  • Migration Approaches

  • Enabling Technologies

  • Types of Data Replication & Data Migration

  • Network Capacity

  • Swing Equipment

  • Server Consolidation: Physical-to-Physical; Physical-to-Virtual; Virtual-to-Physical

  • Storage Consolidation: Shared-to-Shared; Dedicated-to-dedicated; Dedicated-to-shared

  • Service Level Requirements

  • Service Delivery Model

  • High-Level Road Map

    • Major Segments

    • Key Milestones

    • Critical Components

    • Estimated Duration

    • Supplemental Resource Requirements

    • Significant Uncertainties

THE HIGH LEVEL CONSOLIDATION PLANNING ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:

Hardware Planning & Implementation

  • Identify Hardware and Site Requirements

  • Generate Hardware Plan for New Equipment

  • Allow for Install/uninstall

  • Asset Transfer

Software Planning & Implementation

  • Identify Software Licenses

  • Generate Detail Software Migration Plan

  • Transfer Software Licenses

Network Planning & Implementation

  • Identify Relevant Network Requirements

  • Generate Detail Network Migration Plan

  • Order Install & Test Network Facilities and Hardware

  • Establish Network Connectivity Between User

Application Planning & Implementation

  • Identify Affected Applications and Development Applications Profiles

  • Generate Detail Application Migration Plan

  • Identify Business Interface Requirements

Operations Planning

  • Identify Operational Procedures

  • Generate Detailed Migration Plan

  • Start User Testing of Migrated Applications

  • Unit, Systems and Stress Test

  • Migrated Application Workload

Outside Services and One-off Services

  • Identify Outside Services Contracts & One-off Services

  • Transfer Contracts In-house

Transition Management

  • Shadow Existing Management Organization

  • Identify Management Process

Migration Process

  • Migration Planning

    • Identify Application Changes

    • Identify Service and Capacity Requirements

    • Develop User Acceptance Criteria

    • Identify Target Migration Schedule Conflicts

  • Migration Execution

    • Conduct Migration Status Reviews

    • Perform User Acceptance Tests

    • Problem Identification and Resolution

    • Cut-over

  • Post Migration

    • Conduct Post-migration Status Meeting

    • Conduct Service Agreement Reviews

    • Problem Identification and Resolution

Human Resource Plan

  • Develop an Organizational Staffing Plan

  • Identify Staffing Requirement and Skill Sets

  • Identify Surplus Resource Conditions

  • Transition Process

  • Payroll Processing and Adjustments

Financial Management Plan

  • Acquire Project Funding for Expense and Capital

  • Prepare Budget

  • Track Monthly Expenses

  • Prepare Monthly Budget to Actual

Facility Management Plan

  • Determine Impact of Lease Stream2

  • Identify Existing Facility Issues

WRAP-UP

The suggestions presented in this article are intended to help navigate through the formation of data center consolidation project. The consolidated, virtualized, service-oriented environment will provide the foundation to transform to cloud computing. With cloud computing, you can multiply the benefits of consolidation for even greater cost reduction, increased agility, and higher service quality.