how to mitigate risk when migrating colocation providers

Changing colocation providers isn’t something you would want to do regularly. There is a lot of time, effort and risk of downtime associated with colocating. Hopefully migrating colocation providers is something you will only have to do once or twice.  If you talk to people about migrations, ‘tedious’, ‘painful’ and ‘never again’ might be their choice of words.

Fortunately, the unfortunate have already carved the path to avoid, helping us steer you down a pain-free road. That’s not to say you can’t go down the same way, but from our vast experience of helping customers migrate data centres we can give you guidance on some of the signs to look out for. 


Start with a list!

This is the 1st step and shouldn’t be underestimated. Make a list of everything in the network and perform a full infrastructure assessment. This should contain everything physical, virtual, topography and even legacy systems. The more information you have the better as you can never have too much information for a migrations.

Tip: Label all your equipment, where it currently resides and where it will be placed after colocating.


Know where you are, want to be and have someone who will get you there.

A common problem is that businesses will start migrations without testing. It is important to test before you start as you want to be certain of what your current situation is. If you know where you stand you can set a clear position to where you want to be. You don’t want to find a problem you can’t fix after migrating.

It is also vital to have a clear and impartial project leader. You want them to take the criteria for all departments involved and make sure their needs are heard and implemented (if appropriate). They can also get key information for when different departments can accept some downtime. No one will appreciate the migration if payroll is down on payday.


Don’t put pressure on from the start

We have seen too many businesses not allocate themselves enough time to colocate. Migrations can be very slow moving and require a lot of planning to execute properly. You can use your test migration as a basis for your actual migration.

Tip: Delays will happen, make sure you have enough space for them in your plan.


Check your dependencies

A very common mistake to make is not checking what dependencies you have. If you are replacing old equipment, ensure it is compatible with your current systems and infrastructure. This also applies to your new colocation provider. It’s best to check everything will domino correctly before the ball starts rolling.

Tip: Make sure you wipe and securely dispose of any obsolete equipment.

Tip: Point-to-Point circuits can take a month or longer to order. Even if you ask your new colo provider to set them up, it could take them the same time if they don’t have any or enough in stock. Give them advanced notice on any equipment you want them to provide.


Not taking measurements

Another frequent error people have made is not taking proper measurements or considering the amount of space. If using the providers’ rack space or cages then you should get their measurements. You don’t want to haul your equipment down and then the servers not fit. The same applies with transporting your equipment down to the data centre. You want to make sure your equipment will be transported in a safe and secure way.

Tip: Register your visit in advance and inform anyone visiting to bring their ID as most data centres will require this.

Obviously, this is not a complete list of all the pitfalls you could come across when changing your colocation provider but they are certainly the most common ones we hear of.  It’s always a good idea to speak with your new colocation provider to see what help and guidance they can provide.