Craft an End-to-End Data Center Consolidation Strategy to Maximize Benefits

Benefits from data center consolidation are not guaranteed. Effective planning is the key to capture consolidation benefits.

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Your Challenge

  • Data center operating costs continue to escalate as organizations struggle with data center sprawl.
  • While data center consolidation is an attractive option to reduce cost and sprawl, the complexity of these projects makes them extremely difficulty to execute.
  • The status quo is also not an option, as budget constraints and the challenges with managing multiple data centers continues to increase.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Despite consolidation being an effective way of addressing sprawl, it is often difficult to secure buy-in and funding from the business.
  • Many consolidation projects suffer cost overruns due to unforeseen requirements and hidden interdependencies which could have been mitigated during the planning phase.
  • Organizations that avoid consolidation projects due to their complexity are just deferring the challenge, while costs and inefficiencies continue to increase.

Impact and Result

  • Successful data center consolidation will have an immediate impact on reducing data center sprawl. Maximize your chances of success by securing buy-in from the business.
  • Avoid cost overruns and unforeseen requirements by engaging with the business at the start of the process. Clearly define business requirements and establish common expectations.
  • While cost improvements often drive data center consolidation, successful projects will also improve scalability, operational efficiency, and data center redundancy.

Contributors

  • City of Spokane
  • Saskatchewan Transportation
  • Tripwire
  • City of Austin
  • Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy
  • ASW Global
  • Alberta Finance & Enterprise
  • Independence First
  • INVe SHARE
  • Sims Metal Management
  • Richardson
  • Benco Dental Company
  • American Equity Investment Life Insurance
  • Weston Solutions
  • Sirius International
  • TripleT
  • Gowans Research
  • Dutch/European Standards Data Centers Committee
  • 227 individuals completed a survey

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Get to Action

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should perform a data center consolidation, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

  1. Discover

    Identify IT infrastructure systems and establish dependency bundles for the current and target sites.

  2. Plan

    Build a strong business case for data center consolidation by leveraging a TCO analysis and incorporating business requirements.

  3. Execute

    Streamline the move-day process through effective communication and clear delegation of duties.

  4. Close

    Close the loop on the data center consolidation project by conducting an effective project retrospective.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is a thirteen call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Discover

  • Call #1: Leverage the project planning tool to organize tasks and projects.

  • Call #2: Create and prioritize dependency bundles.

  • Call #3: Use the consolidation workbook to capture consolidation requirements.

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Plan

  • Call #1: Paint a clear financial outlook for the business through a five-year TCO.

  • Call #2: Clearly articulate business and IT requirements.

  • Call #3: Identify and mitigate consolidation risks.

  • Call #4: Assess and select an appropriate mover.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Execute

  • Call #1: Create a minute-by-minute move-day script.

  • Call #2: Leverage a communication plan to keep stakeholders engaged and accountable.

  • Call #3: Clearly establish go/no-go criteria to ensure that the data center relocation is successful.

  • Guided Implementation #4 - Close

  • Call #1: Establish a project plan for the QA team that aligns with the move plan.

  • Call #2: Follow best practices when decommissioning.

  • Call #3: Document issue resolution and lessons learned for a smoother consolidation the next time around.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Establish an Effective Discovery Phase

The Purpose

  • Create an end-to-end project prioritization workbook that will help the data center consolidation project stay on track.
  • Establish a clear understanding of your current environment and effectively inventory all of the necessary components of the consolidation project. Establish move bundle proprieties to streamline the day of the move.  

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Create an inventory of consolidation projects and objectively prioritize each project.
  • Identify the dependencies of your current data center environment and establish an efficient bundle move order. The bundle move order will allow you to execute the consolidation in logical pieces rather than attempt to move the entire data center in one step. 

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Prioritize each piece of the consolidation project and turn one massive project into digestible pieces.
  • Data Center Consolidation Project Planning and Prioritization Tool
1.2 Kick-start the discovery phase and establish a clear understanding of the current environment.
  • Data Center Consolidation Data Collection Workbook
1.3 Establish move order for bundles to streamline the execution process.
  • Data Center Consolidation Data Collection Workbook – Bundle Move Order

Module 2: Conduct a Thorough Consolidation Analysis

The Purpose

  • Build a strong business case for the data center consolidation project through a comprehensive Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis.
  • Incorporate business requirements from the start of your planning process by engaging with the business early and often.
  • Select the appropriate external support by establishing a repeatable process to evaluate vendor statements of work (SOWs).  

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Compare the TCOs between the current state and the consolidated environment to clearly demonstrate the value of the consolidation project.
  • Avoid friction and unforeseen requirements from the business by building in business requirements during the consolidation planning phase.
  • Hire the appropriate vendor to support you during the move through a systematic review process. 

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Build a strong business case for the consolidation project by comparing and contrasting the difference in ownership costs between the current state and the consolidated state.
  • Data Center Consolidation TCO Comparison Tool
2.2 Clearly understand business requirements at the start of the consolidation project and avoid sudden changes later on.
  • Data Center Consolidation Data Collection Workbook – Business Requirements
2.3 Review best practices of how to select the appropriate vendor to support you during the move.
  • Data Center Relocation Vendor Statement of Work Evaluation Tool

Module 3: Prepare for the Day of the Move

The Purpose

  • Create a flowchart for your move-day plan and identify gaps and risks for each step in the move.
  • Establish an overall communication strategy so that all stakeholders are aware and engaged during move day.
  • Implement a clear change management process to ensure that changes are controlled during the move.   

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Mitigate or eliminate gaps and risks from your move-day procedures before you execute. Achieve this through a tabletop exercise that allows your entire team to walk through the move-day process.
  • Keep the consolidation team and executives on the same page through a comprehensive communication strategy that tailors information provided to each group.
  • Avoid unforeseen changes that can derail the consolidation project by implementing strict change management processes. 

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Create a detailed move-day script by leveraging a tabletop planning exercise.
  • Minute-to-Minute Move-Day Script
3.2 Leverage the results of the tabletop exercise and formalize the move-day script through a project planning and monitoring tool.
  • Data Center Relocation Minute-to-Minute Project Planning and Monitoring Tool
3.3 Streamline the communication process between stakeholders by developing a comprehensive communication strategy.
  • Communications Plan Template for Data Center Consolidation
  • Data Center Consolidation Executive Presentation

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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