January 2018: It’s hard enough to move your office from one location to another without thinking about how to move your IT. But before you schedule the moving vans, make sure you have a solid plan that will keep your IT running at the level you’ll need throughout the transition. Planning ahead tees you up for a successful move and can also help you take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
Here are four models that get it done — which is best for your organization?
1. Forklift model
Some organizations can move their IT the same way they move their furniture. They can methodically shut down the IT environment, load it all on a truck, then set it up again the exact same way on the other side. However, this model requires the organization to be without their usual IT operations from two to four days, or longer for larger offices. Companies that use the forklift model successfully are those that don’t rely on IT to conduct business, don’t need to operate nonstop, or are running their operations entirely in the cloud.
2. Swing model
Organizations that don’t want to deal with downtime can gradually swing their IT operations from the old location to the new location. The process includes systematically moving the infrastructure to the new location a little at a time, then moving the app and network data over piecemeal rather than all at once. By swinging the IT gradually from one site to the other, the move can be seamless and becomes more a reporting function of where the processing is taking place. The length of time it takes to complete the swing depends on the amount of equipment, data and apps being used.
3. Cloud swing model
The cloud swing model is similar to the swing model except rather than moving the infrastructure at the new location, the organization builds new infrastructure in the cloud. Downtime is still minimized (or eliminated) as data and operations swing methodically from the old location to the cloud. Whether the new environment is in the public cloud or a private cloud doesn’t matter — the business can stay up and running throughout the transition and makes the next move easier as well. Moving from a traditional IT environment to a cloud environment involves more design and planning, however, organizations need to allow for that on the front end.
4. Fresh-start model
If your IT environment is old, slowing you down or isn’t up to the task of running your business once it’s in the new location, the best plan may be to start anew. Moving your IT to a new location takes time and energy, and if what you already own will no longer serve you well or isn’t designed for the size of your new offices, this is the time to upgrade, streamline or even rethink how your organization uses IT equipment altogether. Once it’s ready to go, you migrate the data following the swing model.
Customizing your IT move for special circumstances
These four models are just that — models. Your organization might be served best by developing a plan that’s a variation or combination of these models. For example, when some companies downsize or sell off parts of the business, they don’t need as much IT equipment, so moving IT isn’t very complicated. For some organizations, it could make sense to move certain operations to the cloud temporarily while relocating physical infrastructure. Others might need to keep selected parts of their IT running at all times but can do without other parts for a few days without suffering any consequences — these organizations can combine the swing and forklift models.
Preparing for a move
Growing companies and companies in transition can make relocating (or merging) a lot easier if they begin to plan in advance. Moving operations to the cloud rather than investing in new traditional equipment as it ages out is one way to prepare, as is consolidating IT vendors so when it’s time to move, fewer teams will be needed to coordinate and manage the process. Depending on the size of your organization and the complexity of your IT environment, it can take two years or longer to prepare for a major move, but once you’re ready to pull the trigger, moving IT is a non-issue — you’re ready.
Leapfrog helps clients with all of the above models (and hybrids) although we don’t often use the forklift model because our clients need their IT operations up and running. As an infrastructure provider, our goal is to make sure each move goes as smoothly as possible so we design it around the amount of interruption they can reasonably absorb. Some of the same concepts and skill sets as disaster recovery planning can come into play. By planning in advance, moving your IT to a new location can be smooth, streamlined and perfectly matched to your needs. If your organization needs help with moving IT or merging IT with another company, please feel free to contact Leapfrog.
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