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Keep Data Migration Costs Low with Swing or Rental Hardware Strategies


One of the major challenges in migrating to a new data center is having a landing spot for your workloads and data during the transition. In the best case scenario, you are moving to a green-field where all new hardware will host your existing workloads, and the only concern is the actual migration work. However, green-field opportunities are rare; in most cases, data center managers have to develop swing hardware strategies, which minimize wasted hardware and keep costs in control. Here’s a look at common hardware procurement options and considerations.

Swing hardware

A popular option is to buy a small footprint to use as swing hardware. The concept is to purchase the bare minimum to move less critical workloads at the beginning of the migration.

For example, your largest workload may be an Exchange server with 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of RAID 5 storage. An example workflow follows.

1) Migrate small workloads to the large server in the new data center.
2) Relocate the original hardware.
3) Migrate the workload a second time to the original hardware.

The challenge with this approach is having enough of the right kinds of hardware during each migration wave. Also, the amount of work and risk is increased as the workloads migrate more than once. If you are not in a heterogeneous hardware environment, this may not be a very good option; there may not be enough of a single type of server to make this approach cost effective.