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Data Center Migration

Applications and IT infrastructure used to run wholly in on-premises data centers, but today most companies have moved most or some part of their IT to the public or private cloud where the operating environment is provided as a service. Cloud technologies are more agile and efficient and enable businesses to scale up or down as services are needed providing potential cost savings.

 

Some who have moved IT to the cloud have now moved back to on-premises where they have more control. Below, we dive into the security risks of data center migration and the process of securely moving data center infrastructure or applications from one operating environment to another.

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What is a Data Center Migration?

Data center migration is the process of moving an organization’s existing data and processes from one data center to another operating environment. Organizations can pursue data center migration for a number of reasons, including eliminating server sprawl, increasing agility, reducing costs, and improving time to market.

 

Data center migration does not necessarily mean moving data centers to the cloud; however, this is a common trend. According to Gartner, although “cloud first” may be the trend, the more realistic model is to be “cloud-ready.”

Data Center Migration Types

Different organizations pursue data center migration for different reasons, and the reason for the migration can impact the type of migration. The types of data center migration include:

 

  • Consolidation: Migrations prompted by mergers and acquisitions or server sprawl may be focused on consolidation. These migrations leverage virtualization to scale down distributed data center footprints.
  • Relocation: Some migrations are designed to move data centers from one location to another, often a colocation facility. This can reduce the cost and management overhead compared to a self-operated facility.
  • Cloud: Cloud environments provide several advantages compared to operating a physical data center. Organizations may pursue a cloud migration to decrease cost or improve agility.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid data centers acknowledge that different platforms may be better suited for hosting certain resources. In a hybrid model, companies may divide their data center between multiple locations such as on-premises private and public cloud environments to optimize performance or costs.

Why Data Center Migration is Important

For many organizations, a data center migration can bring significant benefits. Examples of these include:

 

  • Improved Return on Investment (ROI): Data center migrations can help IT leaders to reduce operating expenses by optimizing the use of available resources.
  • Improved Resource Capacity: A data center migration can enable an organization to build a more scalable data center.
  • Minimize Disruption: Technology is evolving rapidly, and a more agile environment can help to decrease the disruption caused by adopting new technologies.
  • Increased Lifespan: Data center migration can increase the lifespan and return on investment of an organization’s existing IT infrastructure by adapting it to better meet the organization’s needs.
  • Improved Security: Different types of data centers provide different security benefits, such as the increased control of an on-prem data center vs. the built-in security features of the cloud. A data center migration can enable an organization to choose a model that better fits its security needs.

How To Plan For a Successful Data Center Migration

Migrating data centers can be a complex process. To maximize the probability of a successful migration, follow this process:

#1. Assessment

Before starting to develop a data center migration strategy, it is important to gain a full understanding of the scope of the exercise. During the assessment phase, take the following steps:

 

  • Document the entire data center footprint
  • Include a resource grouping classification
  • Engage in cross-functional discussions with other internal business units

#2. Planning

With a clear understanding of the goals and scope of the migration in place, the next step is to plan the migration. Important steps in the migration planning process include:

 

  • Decide on the optimal place to migrate to (cloud, on-prem, hyperconverged, etc.) based on the organization’s need
  • Create a phased execution plan
  • Set timelines
  • Understand and map out dependencies
  • Train staff
  • Automate where you can
  • Define SLAs and support processes

#3. Validation

Before putting the data center migration plan into action, it is important to validate the various parts of the plan. As part of this process, be sure to include business validation to ensure that all the stakeholders are aware of any changes in the migration process.

#4. Migration

With the plan developed and validated, the next step in the migration process is to put the plan into action. The goal of migration is to deploy a fully functional and tested data center, so this phase includes the following steps:

 

  • Set up the data center infrastructure (including networking, firewall rules, etc.)
  • Validate the configurations of the deployed infrastructure
  • Test that applications run properly on the new infrastructure (i.e., that they have access to databases, Active Directory, and the other resources that they need)
  • Set up logging and monitoring for infrastructure and applications

#5. Verification and Optimization

When the migration phase is complete, the company should have a fully functional data center. However, oversights and other issues can cause problems in the long term. Organizations should routinely verify that services are running, review the data center architecture and configurations, and optimize where needed.

Data Center Migration Security

Organizations planning for a data center migration should also consider data center security. When shifting from one type of data center to another, such as on-premises to cloud-based, the differences in the environment can have a dramatic impact on data center security.

 

For example, in a cloud environment, an organization no longer has visibility into or control over the underlying infrastructure hosting its resources. This can make it more difficult to implement security controls required by corporate policy and regulatory compliance requirements. Also, security tools designed for on-prem environments may not work in the cloud.

 

When transitioning to a modern data center, it is essential to ensure that your organization has the tools needed to properly protect it. Check Point Data Center Security solutions offer protection to data center assets whether they are in the cloud, on-premises, or both.

 

Check Point provides robust security across virtualized, physical and cloud environments with the ability to visualize and assess an organization’s cloud security posture, detect misconfigurations, and model and enforce best practices to secure data center migrations to the cloud and from the cloud to on-premises.

Setting the Stage for a Successful Data Center Migration

Data center migrations can be complex, but they can pay for themselves in the long run. Check out this report by Gartner to learn how to reduce the costs of your data center. You’re also welcome to request a demo of Check Point Maestro to see how to effectively secure your new data center.

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