Data center relocation risk assessment

Data Center Relocation Risk Assessment Process Overview

Because of the high stakes involved in moving a data center (DC) to a new location, a risk assessment is strongly recommended prior to initiating the move. The data center relocation “Risk Assessment” process identifies what can go wrong and the steps identified to mitigate potential problems.

Examples of some of the issues that may arise include:

  • Racks may encounter obstacles moving into the loading dock due to DC modifications.
  • Servers may not power up after the move.
  • Weather conditions may affect drive time by delaying planned move time.
  • Trucks may have breakdowns further delaying the planned move time.
  • The weight of equipment, such as enterprise storage, can cause waves on the data center floor that will eventually crash into a floor tile.
  • A rack rail can come loose and cause servers to crash into each other within a rack.
  • The racks in the existing data center may not be appropriate for the new data center.

We usually think of the TECHNICAL RISKS or FUNCTIONAL RISKS that may be encountered when making a move from one data center to another. There are a host of NON-TECHNICAL or NON-FUNCTIONAL issues that must also be considered and addressed to mitigate and minimize the possibility of serious delays in relocating the data center.

Mitigation strategies must be developed for each potential risk, both technical and non-technical, to ensure that the data center relocation is completed effectively, efficiently and within the planned time frame.

There are six stages in the data center relocation “Risk Assessment” process:

  1. The first stage of the data center relocation risk assessment process is to determine the functional risks associated with the relocation. Functional risks are those that are related to the operation of the equipment throughout the move cycle and what could affect its operation after the move. An example might be a damaged plug for a server that occurred as a result of the move.
  2.  The second stage of the move is to identify non-functional risks that could occur as a result of the relocation. These are risks that may occur that are not directly related to the operation of the equipment after the move. An example would be the breakdown of a truck during the trip from the origin data center to the destination data center.
  3. The 3rd step of the risk assessment process is to identify the impacts of all identified functional and non-functional risks.
  4. The 4th stage is to identify mitigation strategies for each of the risks.
  5. The 5th step is to document the details of each risk, the associated impacts and the mitigation steps to be taken should it occur, as demonstrated in the figure above.
  6. The 6th stage of the data center relocation process “Risk Assessment” is to develop the mitigation plan, execute the plan if and when a risk evolves into an actual problem and monitor and track progress against the mitigation plan.

The information identified and documented in the six stages described above serves as preparation for the mitigation actions that will be invoked to resolve any risks that evolve into real problems during the execution of a data center relocation, ultimately leading to a successful and timely relocation.

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