Herman Chan, president of Sunbird Software, shares three little-known ways that Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software can simplify moves to colocation data centres

Managing the risks and complications involved in a colocation data centre is a challenge even for experienced data centre professionals. Resources such as checklists to manage the tasks required are a good start. Data centre colocation services often assist customers with the migration process as well. But Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software can also support in planning and help to avoid many of the risks associated with migrations to colo-operated facilities.

While DCIM is typically considered as a tool to be deployed after the move, it offers some interesting benefits even before the hardware is installed in the new facility. Here are three ways that you can use DCIM software to make planning and executing a data centre move easier and less stressful:

1. Improve accuracy of your data centre asset management.

Most data centre moves start with an inventory of what you have, so you’ll know which assets need to be moved or decommissioned. This first step in the migration process typically results in an updated asset inventory for your colocation facility.

A DCIM solution can jumpstart your data centre asset management and eliminate much of the human error associated with a manual inventory by discovering devices on your network. Keeping track of your assets in the DCIM software also saves time once the new facility is up and running. As you will have an accurate inventory of your equipment, assets can easily be imported into your DCIM database without concerns about data quality.

2. Create a virtual buildout of your new data centre deployment.

Figuring out exactly where to place your equipment in your new facility is a challenge during a colocation move. Not only do you need to check that you have sufficient space but also to ensure that you have the right amount of power capacity as well, including resources which would be needed in a failover situation. Furthermore, you need to ensure that you have the right length of cable to connect equipment without creating spiderwebs and spaghetti in your data centre.

A virtual buildout of the deployment ensures greater accuracy in data centre capacity planning. You can make sure that all the equipment fits prior to the physical migration, which saves time and effort on hardware installation, as well as reducing the potential for issues to arise during the physical move. In addition, DCIM software can graphically display floor maps, cabinet elevations, and power and network layouts so all those involved in the migration understand how their respective areas of expertise fit together in the new colocation facility.

3. Print out work orders for colocation teams.

The physical move and hardware installation is the culmination of the planning stages up to that point. However, it’s easy to botch the execution of your data centre move when the migration is taking place in the middle of the night, and the move team doesn’t include any of the same people to those who planned the infrastructure. (When moving to a colocation facility, the physical move may be included as part of your provider’s remote hands/managed services.) An experienced data centre move team can limit the potential for errors, but additional clarity around hardware installation adds protection against costly mistakes.

Change management tools in DCIM software can give you a single system from which to print out work orders that can be physically attached to the equipment to be moved. The work orders would include not only the change requests but also helpful visual information, such as cabinet elevations that show where in the specified rack the equipment should go. This decreases the potential of having hardware installed or connected incorrectly.

DCIM also allows you to track the status of your moves, adds, and changes accurately — even after the move — so you can ensure that the work is completed correctly without being on site. Work order validations ensure that unauthorized work is never approved, while integrations with CMDBs and third-party ticketing systems allow data to be shared and updated across databases.

Note: If you’re not currently using data centre management software, a colocation data centre move is a great opportunity to start a DCIM project. The DCIM software can be added to the budget as part of the larger migration project, increasing chances for approval.

Moving to a colo can be risky and complicated, but you can take steps to simplify your data centre migration and increase your chance of success. Implementing data centre management software doesn’t have to wait until after you move your data centre. Initiate your DCIM project before migration so that you get the most out of your software and your new colocation facility from Day One.

Looking for ways to reduce risks in your colo move? Download our eBook, 7 Proven Tips for a Successful Data Center Migration.