Data center exit can be defined as removing the price of leasing the space, paying utility bills, and maintaining the equipment in data centers from your IT spend. The majority of companies are now opting for cloud services. They have their workload and data migrated to the cloud. Data centers are also being used for the storage of backup files.
How much time does it take to build a data center exit strategy? It will depend on the size of the data center to be exited. The first step is to obtain a list of all the servers, storage, hardware, and software licenses associated with the data center in question. This is a huge task for any organization. It will take excessive effort and time to complete this task.
Once the data center is cleaned of all the hardware and software, the space can be leased out to another company or even sold to another company. This is a good strategy to replace aging servers, storage, and other hardware with the latest and the most efficient; a useful technique when the software licenses are no longer required or when there is no longer a budget for software maintenance.
In both these cases, the cost of exiting the data center is much less than upgrading to the latest version of the software and buying the required licenses. This strategy is also used when the data center cannot be downsized further.
A data center exit project can be an opportunity for business value creation and innovation in terms of:
Cost savings; by getting out of your data center lease, reducing your utility costs, and retiring some hardware, you’re investing in your business. Cost savings can be realized through various means, such as reducing the amount of cooling you need to do by moving to a lower-cost location, like the cloud, or removing bad assets, which are no longer required and are just taking up valuable space.
Reducing IT costs by using less expensive but still very good quality services, like outsourcing and cloud migrations.
Risk reduction – by removing the costs of your data center-exit project, you reduce your risk, as you are no longer paying for your old data center. By adding cloud and outsourcing services, you are getting more agile and flexible.
In a data center-exit project, there are usually a few areas of risk: The risk to the organization if the project doesn’t succeed, i.e., costs are not reduced, new technology or services don’t meet expectations, etc. Risk to the data and risk of adding costs to the business if the project is not done very carefully.
At a high level, the steps to exiting a data center include:
Getting the executive management team on board and buy-in from other stakeholders is important. It would help if you had their support, understanding, and cooperation. You need to get them to see the opportunity and understand that the project is part of a business transformation.
Assess the Data Center
You’ll need to do a thorough assessment of your data center, including an inventory of hardware, software, storage, applications, etc. You’ll need to understand the current state of your data center, which can be a challenge if you haven’t done a thorough assessment before.
Create a Plan
Once the inventory and the examination are done, you can create a plan for exiting your data center. The plan should include a business case that identifies the business need, the benefits, and the cost savings, a process for bringing the program to the business, and for getting approval for the costs, a detailed schedule and budget for the project, and a detailed strategy for the data center exit, including a risk assessment. A thorough plan for decommissioning the data center and disposing of the data center assets is also important.
You’ll then need to move the data from the old data center to the new data center or to the cloud, which can be a complicated project, depending on the size of the data. Once the data is moved, you can retire your data center. This will include decommissioning the data center and disposing of the data center assets, including the hardware, the software, the IP addresses, and the data center space. Create a new reporting structure for the data center.
Finally, you will need to create a new reporting structure for IT to have a single point of reporting for all of your IT and that all of the IT is accounted for and can be managed properly.