Important Tips for Data Center Decommissioning
There are many reasons why you might want to decommission a data center. Maybe the building is becoming obsolete, or your company is consolidating its data centers due to budget constraints.
Whatever the reason, there’s a right and a wrong way to go about it. Below are the steps to take for an efficient decommissioning process so that your business can avoid any headaches in this delicate period.
Know your goals
Knowing your goals is one of the most important tips for data center decommissioning. Without knowing your goals, it can be difficult to decide what steps to take and when to take them. Some things you may want to consider when defining your goals are:
- How much downtime can your business afford?
- What are your priorities for the decommissioning process? Is minimising the environmental impact a top priority, or is getting rid of the equipment as quickly as possible more important?
- What kind of information do you need to archive or destroy?
- Are there any legal or compliance requirements that must be met during the decommissioning process?
Once you have a clear idea of your goals, you can plan out the steps needed to achieve them. Knowing your goals will help ensure a smooth and efficient decommissioning process.
Begin the Planning Phase
The planning phase is arguably the most important step in the data center decommissioning process. This is when you will develop a plan of action and determine the necessary steps to decommission your data center successfully.
During this phase, it’s important to consider all aspects of the decommissioning process, from environmental impact to logistics. You’ll also need to create a timeline for completing each step and identify any potential roadblocks that could occur along the way.
If done correctly, the planning phase can help make the decommissioning process smoother and less stressful overall. So be sure to take your time and map out every detail before moving on to the next step.
Create a Detailed Data Center Checklist
When decommissioning a data center, it is important to have a detailed checklist to ensure that all equipment and systems are properly shut down and removed. The following is a list of items that should be included in your checklist:
- Ensure all servers and devices are turned off
- Remove power cords from outlets
- Disable or remove network cables from switches and routers
- Disable or remove storage area network (SAN) connections
- Physically disconnect all server racks, cabinets, and other equipment
- Clean up any remaining cable slack or wiring congestion
- Label every cable with its function and destination (e.g., patch panel, cabinet, outlet)
- Document the physical configuration of the center before decommissioning
Creating a detailed data center checklist is important in ensuring a smooth and successful decommissioning process. By planning and executing each step of the process, you can avoid costly mistakes and ensure that your data center is properly shut down and removed.
Identify and Acquire Necessary Tools
One thing that is often overlooked when planning a data center decommissioning project, or any complex IT project for that matter, is the tools necessary to complete the job. This includes everything from hardware (servers and workstations) to software applications; even something as trivial as an extension cord can be essential during certain phases of the process.
The first step in identifying what should be included in your toolkit is gaining consensus among all stakeholders involved with the decommissioning effort.
Those who will likely need access to different types of tools include IT personnel responsible for execution strategy, physical plant workers tasked with disassembling equipment racks and uninstalling cabling, facilities managers managing environmental control systems like HVAC units and generators/power distribution units, and of course the contracting company or individual hired to complete the project.
Once you have a comprehensive list of tools, it’s important to source them all in one place. This can be done through an authorised distributor or manufacturer representative. Having everything on hand before starting the decommissioning process will help ensure smooth and timely execution.
Remove any personal items from the data center before decommissioning, such as family pictures or company memorabilia
Removing personal items from a data center prior to decommissioning is important. Data centers are often filled with company memorabilia and personal items. Items like family pictures or awards can make the decommissioning process easier for everyone involved if they’re removed ahead of time.
Hiring a data center services provider to handle everything ensures you get all your hardware back in its original state, including any accessories that might have been left behind. This is important because it helps prevent unauthorised access into an old system that could expose confidential information or damage other systems when connected together in a network again without proper security measures.
Remove or Relocate Equipment
After the data center decommissioning has been completed, it is important to remove or relocate any large equipment that was not part of the initial plan. This includes servers and network devices such as switches, routers, wireless access points, mobile phones used for IT support services, etc.
You will also want to schedule the removal of any shelving, furniture, or racking that was used for racks and cabinets. If you plan on selling these items as part of your data center decommissioning efforts, remember they will need to be in good condition with no dings or scrapes.
To help make sure everything is removed from the space properly, it is recommended to create a checklist detailing what needs to happen at each stage throughout the process. For example, equipment should not be left behind; shelves and other fixtures must come down; cables and wires must be disconnected and labelled; the cleaning crew should be scheduled to clean the space.
By following these simple tips, your data center decommissioning process will go more smoothly, and you can rest assured that everything has been taken care of properly.
Post-Decommissioning Cleanup and Admin
Your equipment and software have now been removed, but the project isn’t quite finished. The old equipment needs to be disposed of or recycled, and the data center needs to be cleaned up.
The post-decommissioning cleanup process can be time-consuming and complex. It’s important to have a plan in place for dealing with the old equipment and data. Here are some tips for completing the post-decommissioning cleanup:
- Dispose of or recycle the old equipment properly
- Clean up the data center space and remove any remaining debris
- Archive or destroy any old data that is no longer needed
Completing these tasks will help to ensure a smooth and successful decommissioning project.
Choose the Right Data Center Decommissioning Services Partner
Partnering with the right data center decommissioning services company can help you find success quickly. You should consider various factors when making your decision, including:
- Procedures and processes in place to support the decommissioning process (and any other services you may need)
- Presence of technology experts within their teams who can help you determine what equipment is worth keeping or selling versus scraping
- Ability to provide a comprehensive scope of work and manage all project aspects
- Proper insurance and bonding coverage
By taking the time to research your options, you can be confident in selecting a company that will help you achieve your decommissioning goals quickly and efficiently.
Data Center decommissioning is an important process that can be done with little to no downtime. The above tips will help you get started on the right foot, so your data center’s next life cycle begins smoothly and without interruption.