Move a Data Center

Moving the data center is best described as a controlled disaster where minute-by-minute planning is critical to success.

Your Challenge

  • IT managers may only face a data center move once or twice in their professional lives, and therefore may have little knowledge of how to approach the project.
  • Data center relocation requires thorough and rigorous planning that often involves input from multiple departments in the organization and third party assistance from consultants, contractors, vendors, and moving companies.
  • Small and mid-sized organizations often lack the funding to hire all the third party agents necessary to perform a data center relocation and are overwhelmed by the complexity and detail required for the relocation effort, resulting in chaos, downtime, significant cost overruns, and ultimately loss of business.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • A data center relocation project is often undertaken as one large project but should be broken up into subprojects to make it more manageable and effective.
  • Ideally, a data center relocation effort should be given 12-18 months from start to finish, however many companies are given much less time. Thorough and detailed upfront planning in the beginning stages of the project will identify issues early on, help to establish a budget, and save on the costs of third party assistance.
  • Whether an organization is moving the data center from one to one, many to one, or to a co-location facility, the same process is applicable as each facility should be treated like an individual relocation project.

Impact and Result

  • Understand the critical steps and importance of detailed planning in a data center relocation by practicing meticulous project management.
  • Involve executives, employees, and vendors throughout the project to effectively communicate strategies and solicit cooperation.
  • Gather requirements and conduct assessments on the new facility to identify issues early on.
  • Establish a set of criteria to help select the right vendor for the move.
  • Prepare minute-by-minute planning, and practice the final run through with table top planning to ensure nothing is missed and ensure a successful relocation project.


  • City of Spokane
  • Saskatchewan Transportation
  • Tripwire
  • City of Austin
  • Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy
  • ASW Global
  • Alberta Finance & Enterprise
  • Independence First
  • Sims Metal Management
  • Richardson
  • Benco Dental Company
  • American Equity Investment Life Insurance
  • 154 Anonymous Contributors (survey respondents)

Get the Complete Storyboard

See how all the steps you need to take come together, with tools and advice to help with each task on your list.

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Get to Action

  1. Engage in project management

    Scope the project, create a budget, form the team and plan the plan.

  2. Conduct a thorough discovery

    Inventory applications and hardware, declutter the moving plan, develop a migration strategy, organize moving bundles and analyze risk.

  3. Prepare move day planning

    Select a mover, document  a detailed migration strategy, and assess the go/ no go decision.

  4. Ensure seamless execution

    Perform a final project review, complete the move, and perform testing.

  5. Close the project

    Wrap up at the old facility, capture process issues, and debrief the project.

Guided Implementation Icon Talk to an Analyst

Our analyst calls are focused on helping our members use the research we produce, and our experts will guide you to successful project completion.

  • Book an Analyst Call on this topic. You can start as early as tomorrow morning. Our analysts will explain the process in your first call.
  • Get advice from a subject matter expert. Each call will focus on explaining the material and helping you to plan your project, interpret and analyze the results of each project step, and setting the direction for your next project step.

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