Distributor turns to Trusted Adviser for Data Center MigrationHope is not a good migration strategy

A large, decades-old food and beverage distribution company that serves the southwestern United States had plans to move its corporate data center off-site to a 3rd party data center. But their CIO had the uneasy feeling that their IT organization, including compute, network, storage, database, mainframe, operations, and the applications team, weren’t working from the same script.
He correctly suspected that their plan and strategy would expose them to many risks, and he knew that network downtime could introduce a host of issues, including lost revenue due to unreceived customer orders. They’d constructed a plan they hoped would work.

Initially, the customer had turned to ’s talented, tenured engineers and solutions architects to evaluate their network configuration, which included the addition of new network devices, and whether their external IP addressing scheme was being properly addressed. While evaluating and providing advice on those issues, determined that their data center migration plans were fraught with gaps that would likely require they transition their entire network infrastructure to an out-of-state disaster recovery site. In short, the customer hadn’t addressed several vital elements that would help ensure their data center migration could be accomplished during the allotted 22-hour maintenance window.

People, Processes and Technology

Based on GDT’s expertise at successfully migrating data centers of all sizes and from within a variety of industries, the GDT Account Manager quickly engaged the GDT Transformation Strategy Consulting team. The customer first hired GDT to provide a comprehensive assessment of their migration plan. GDT’s Transformation Strategy Services professionals focused on three (3) key customer elements: their people, all processes that would, or might, be affected, and which technologies were being, or could be, utilized to effectively deliver the desired results.

GDT’s team immediately began conducting fact-finding interviews to determine the current state of their IT infrastructure, their transformation strategy, and any of the migration elements that weren’t given consideration. It was apparent that the customer’s current roadmap would leave them open to a variety of risks. As well, their IT staff didn’t have the experience and risk assessment skillsets needed to successfully move an entire corporate data center, which would result in an unnecessarily longer migration.

The Ultimate Goal? Migration with the Least Possible Risk

GDT identified ten (10) key risk areas, then constructed a data center migration plan that addressed each. They brought the six (6) key areas within their IT department together to ensure each knew how their respective responsibilities and processes affected the inter-dependencies of all others. GDT conducted an all-hands, collaborative session to identify dependency risks and address the dozens of steps each practice needed to successfully and seamlessly migrate the entire corporate data center. GDT’s experience in architectural design and technical execution helped them develop, and lead the customer through, a step-by-step run book for key personnel to ensure they understood their exact responsibilities, how long each step would take, and the proper order in which each needed to be accomplished.

Before the actual migration, GDT led the customer’s IT organization through a full power-down, power-up test of the run book plan. It produced each practice’s run book to not only ensure they achieved the desired results, but would also reveal adjustments that would need to be made prior to launch.

Because of GDT’s initial research and the development of a comprehensive Transformation Strategy Roadmap that included risk mitigation for each of the key practices, the customer successfully migrated their entire data center that not only fit within the 22-hour time frame, but did so in a fraction of the time.

Current Results, Future Considerations

GDT was not only able to construct a detailed data center migration plan for the customer, but its extensive work also uncovered several improvements unrelated to this scope of work, such as how their Active Directory could be modified to improve external communications during any outages. Now with their two-year automation and transformation strategy, the customer is far better equipped and educated to improve all areas of their IT infrastructure.