2021 Best Practices for Data Center Migration

4 steps to put your data center move in motion leveraging Equinix Infrastructure Services

Omid Nikfarza

At one time, keeping the lights on in the data center was enough. Now, it’s more about economically keeping up with the demand for higher-density power and cooling, deploying best-in-class security, and connectivity to networks, end users, partners, clouds and other service providers.

As companies outgrow their data centers and technology gets more power hungry, many question whether they should reinvest in their current space or colocate equipment in a more cost-effective third-party data center. And if they choose an outside data center, especially one located across the country or around the world, they worry about getting their equipment there safely and securely.

An IT organization facing a data center migration has many decisions to make, including:

  • Should we do a total “lift and shift” into a colocation facility or only migrate latency-sensitive applications?
  • How can we limit downtime and protect data and applications?
  • Will we be able to connect to our choice of multiple service providers?
  • And will we have the staff required to deploy effectively and economically?

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These are just some of the concerns we hear from our customers as they consider a data center move and all that’s involved. The steps below are used by our expert Equinix Infrastructure Services (EIS) team to guide our customers through a successful equipment migration, installation, and procurement. Understanding these steps is critical, given that missteps can be expensive: According to Uptime Institute’s 2020 survey, nearly one in 6 major outages costs over $1 million (up from one in 10 in 2019).[i]

Step 1: Evaluate equipment to determine scope of work

High growth leads to data center sprawl, making it hard to inventory and document the many changes that occur in your environment as it expands. The interdependencies between systems further complicate matters: If you move one system without the other, it can bring down an entire business process. That’s why it’s important to determine and document exactly what needs to be migrated.

This is also a good time to evaluate whether it makes sense to purchase new equipment. Trying to “force fit” older equipment into a new, more modern environment can add to the complexity, reduce longevity and increase the cost of integration. We provide expert design and consulting services to help you scope your data center migration needs and make it easier by helping you manage all aspects of the move, ensuring minimum downtime and secure installation.

Step 2: Define your “windows of time”

Determine the time needed to backup data and applications, then shut down equipment, move it and bring it back up. Tier your systems according to their criticality, so you know which ones need to be back online first and consider the travel distance required and the impact that might have on downtime. These steps will limit your planned downtime during the move.

As part of our infrastructure services, we expedite your move by collaborating with our migration partners to package, ship, deliver, and “rack and stack” gear into Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers. Our logistics partners are certified by most major equipment manufacturers to make the move, in turn, protecting the OEM’s warranty requirements.

By leveraging Equinix’s complete infrastructure move, migration and installation services you eliminate the need for locating and hiring your own contractors and technicians to outfit your space, saving you time and money to focus on your mission critical products and services. Structured cabling, power strips, cabinets, ladder racks, fiber trays and security systems can be customized and pre-built for a faster, less complex experience. Equinix Infrastructure Services can even help you source from different vendors to expedite this process. These services have been critical to our customers during current COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions.

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We also provide overall project management for data center migration, installation and equipment procurement. Our proven processes and expert technicians help speed our customers’ deployments and reduce planned downtime.

Step 3: Decrease security risks

Consider the level of security required for the data housed on equipment in transit. Sensitive financial or customer data typically needs a higher level of physical security, and certain government agencies have requirements in place for the people securely handling equipment and data.

We work with transportation partners who are certified in high-security moves. You can have peace of mind knowing that Equinix operates defense-in-depth physical security and privacy within our IBX data centers, which are also NIST-compliant.

Step 4: Keep future growth in mind

With the fast pace of technology change, the environment you set up today could be obsolete a year from now. When we help customers design and build their environment, we use best in class industry practices to make it as efficient as it can be, while ensuring easier upgrades to avoid incurring costly changes in the future.

For example, while structured cabling reduces downtime risks, it also features easily upgradable components to support change as network demands grow, as with emerging technologies such as 5G.

Migration peace of mind

Our migration services are at the foundation of Equinix Infrastructure Services, which range from moving your gear, installing cabinets, power strips and structured cabling, adding security, and the overall project management.

Equinix’s best in class standard data center operating procedures offer a layer of reliability and redundancy, in addition to Equinix’s proven average uptime record of 99.9999%. We are also committed to a long-term goal of using 100% clean and renewable energy for our global platform to meet our customers’ sustainability requirements.

Equinix Infrastructure Services is a one-stop-shop for data center migration, installation and equipment procurement. Used together with these four steps, we can ease and speed your data center migration process, so you can adapt to change as the need for space, power and cabling continues to grow.

Learn more about Equinix Infrastructure Services.

You may also want to read:

IDC – Worldwide Colocation and Interconnection Services 2019 – 2020 Vendor Assessment


[i] “Uptime Institute Global Data Center Survey 2020,” by Andy Lawrence and Rhonda Ascierto, July 20, 2020.

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Omid Nikfarza Sr. Infrastructure Service Manager, Equinix
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