Large IT Data Center Migration

A government agency had an urgent need to migrate an aging IT Data Center to a new centralized secure IT Data Center.  The existing data center had been constrained by budget cuts and consisted of 187 business application servers (160 of which were out of warranty), a variety of operation and support software  license and maintenance agreements, and 137 Terabytes of customer data. 

 

The Data Center landlord notified the government agency the existing IT Data Center was closing in roughly 18 months.  The urgency materialized as the magnitude of such a move with the complexity of the business applications, the operational and business continuity requirements, the security and Authority To Operate (ATO) requirements, the change management and resource requirements, the procurement requirements, and the knowledge that such complex large government data center moves typically take a year of planning alone, without attempting to move, procure, test, and re-establish  performance levels in a new location as well; this was unheard of in less than two year’s time typically.

 

 GPMG was engaged to provide planning and collaborative oversight to migrate the aging data center fleet to a new centralized IT Data Center over 200 miles away. Many items would have to be coordinated to ensure a seamless migration.   Items which would have to be expertly managed included:

  • Out of warranty servers were physical servers and the organizational shift towards the use virtual servers.

  • Software licenses were dedicated to physical servers, so consequently, the move to virtual servers would require different licensing and maintenance agreements.

  • Eight new system security ATOs would be required. 

  • Interfaces would have to be examined, redirected, and tested.

  • A great deal of architectural work would have to be completed in a short period of time.

  • Virtual coordination and collaboration would be required to meet the multiple stakeholder needs during the migration such as a data freeze, and also minimizing and synchronizing customer software releases to align with the migration to achieve critical customer business needs.

  • Requirements would have to be balanced as key stakeholder views were conflicting in terms of what was important.

  • Business continuity and disaster recovery would have to be examined prior to, during and after the migration as particular identified risk probabilities skyrocketed during certain portions of the migration.

 

GPMG established a virtual project management office, developed and implemented the project plan to relocate, consolidate, migrate, and upgrade the hardware, software, 187 business applications and migrate the customer data to the new IT Data Center while maintaining continuous critical business operations across business units and software development capability for the customers. 

 

Multiple brainstorming sessions were facilitated to extract and clarify requirements, determine what could be temporarily sacrificed, identify and assess risks,  establish critical dependencies, and prioritize acquisitions and procurements.  GPMG blended a variety of waterfall and Agile philosophies to deliver a solution on time and satisfy the requirements for a fully operational IT Data Center.  While the overall effort required large chunks of deliverables in a waterfall methodology, within the deliverables, sprints could be utilized to provide critical value to the stakeholders while other requirements were delayed. Daily standups were used to provide feedback on accomplishments, next steps, and what was impeding the efforts for certain portions of the project. 

 

Results:

The results not only produced a fully operational government agency IT Data Center within 18 months; the results produced a savings of $8M annually.

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