The contents of the migration event playbook and migration technical runbook provide an action plan that explicitly directs the preparation and execution of the migration event. Different kind of migrations can be part of the IT room migration.
Data migration is the process of transferring data between computer storage types or file formats. It is a key consideration for any IT room migration, system implementation, upgrade, or consolidation. Data migration is usually performed programmatically to achieve an automated migration, freeing up human resources from tedious tasks. Data migration occurs for a variety of reasons, including server or storage equipment replacements, maintenance or upgrades, application migration, website consolidation and IT room migration.
A business may choose to rationalize the physical media to take advantage of more efficient storage technologies. This will result in having to move physical blocks of data from one tape or disk to another, often using virtualization techniques. The data format and content itself will not usually be changed in the process and can normally be achieved with minimal or no impact to the layers above.
Similarly, it may be necessary to move from one database vendor to another, or to upgrade the version of database software being used. The latter case is less likely to require a physical data migration, but this can happen with major upgrades. In these cases a physical transformation process may be required since the underlying data format can change significantly. This may or may not affect behavior in the applications layer, depending largely on whether the data manipulation language or protocol has changed, but modern applications are written to be agnostic to the database technology so that a change from Sybase, MySQL, DB2 or SQL Server to Oracle should only require a testing cycle to be confident that both functional and non-functional performance has not been adversely affected.
Changing application vendor, for instance a new CRM or ERP platform, will inevitably involve substantial transformation as almost every application or suite operates on its own specific data model and also interacts with other applications and systems within the enterprise application integration environment. Furthermore, to allow the application to be sold to the widest possible market, commercial off-the-shelf packages are generally configured for each customer using metadata. Application programming interfaces (API’ s) may be supplied by vendors to protect the integrity of the data they have to handle.
Execute the migration
The problems most commonly encountered are related to personnel, systems and materials. Isolate each problem as it emerges and resolve them without impacting the rest of the plan and the team. To do so, follow these steps in your decision-making process:
- Review the dependencies and priorities weighting their impact on the IT room migration.
- Determine if the problem is a deal breaker or an acceptable loss.
- If it is a deal breaker, initiate the pre-defined mitigation steps in the IT room migration plan, using the time periods set aside to resolve them.
- If it is an acceptable loss, communicate the loss to appropriate IT room migration team members and advise of next steps.
In these instances, it is crucial to enforce a clear chain of command and responsibilities. Furthermore, one person on-site should have absolute decision authority.
Remember, the IT room migration team is the most critical component of a successful IT room migration. Make sure the IT room migration team members can arrive early or stay late, if needed; ensure resources and vendors from all disciplines are on standby as a reserve force, if their expertise is required. Seize every opportunity, and aggressively attack delays.
- Execute the activities in the runbook during the IT room migration.
- Execute the application and / or data transformation activities in the runbook during the IT room migration.
- Complete the application and / or data transformation activities.
- Manage logistics for all physical IT room migration activities.
- Migrate and reconcile application data.
- Institute the IT room migration room as the focal point for migration event activities.
- Manage the IT room migration event through each decision milestone (Go/NoGo criteria).
- Complete the IT room migration event or roll back.
- Handover to the receiving support teams.
Hints and tips
- Good preparation will now pay off. Be prepared for the unexpected and remain calm and professional if this occurs. Be of good humor and enjoy this, it is a rare and exciting opportunity to shine!
- Be alert for team or individual ‘burn-out’ and watch out for each other (a people/team thing).
- Application and / or data transformation and / or separation can significantly complicate an IT room migration. Specialist application knowledge will be required. Don’t try to do this with the IT room migration team, this is a specialist skill.