An exclusive to Leadership Thoughts, chapter 26 of Donato Piccino’s new book — The Ultimate IT Project Manager — Tin and Wires, Part 1: Data Centre Migration Master (DCM) Class.
That ain’t working, that’s the way you do it – Money for Nothing, Dire Straits
DCM is a three letter acronym that strikes fear into the hearts of the most hardened IT Project Manager. A DCM is probably the most complex IT infrastructure project in the world. Everyone’s doing it all the time, so best to learn all you need to know about the basics. Get it wrong and it’s money for nothing.
However, upon closer examination, the business drivers behind migration of legacy services to next generation hosting services, feel synonymous with performance traits expected from a beat-the-plan IT Project Manager.
Masaaki Sakai is probably a name you don’t recognise. If you were a child in the late 70s and early 80s you will have seen him on TV. He played a character called Monkey, from the Japanese series of the same name.
Monkey battled all kinds of enemies in the air by flying about on a magic cloud. Whenever he needed his magic cloud all he would have to do is whistle — his cloud would instantly appear.
During this era, the same could not be said for commissioning servers to host software. It was a long and tedious business. Provisioning servers or mainframes took time. The customer purchased capacity they did not immediately need.
Monkey Episode 3: A Great Journey Begins
Fast forward 30 years and the adoption of cloud solutions, such as SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, continues to gather pace. Gartner predicts that by 2014, 75% of UK business will be leveraging cloud. Users of cloud solutions only pay for what they use.
The process for commissioning servers or scaling up is very quick. A reduction in operating expenditure, accompanied by increased agility for the digital future, whilst reducing organisational rigidity in a time of constant merger and acquisitions, is an attractive proposition. The reality hits, when an organisation realises the enormity of the challenge, of moving their data and applications from old world to cloud world.
Old world can normally be found in a tier 1–4 data centre or in disparate tier 2 server rooms spread across an organisation’s property portfolio.
For anyone wanting a career in IT project management, DCM is an excellent experience to have under your belt.
All IT projects have 2 things in common; the need for network, and the need for servers. Nothing happens on an IT project without servers (aka tin) and networks (aka wires.)
DCM is much deeper than moving tin and connecting wires. The business drivers behind migration to cloud are exactly the same performance traits that organisations want from IT Project Manager 2014+.
Deliver results and tangible value
Reducing operating expenditure and total cost of ownership
Elastic and flexible approach
Improve IT apps and infrastructure
Reduce the carbon foot print
In today’s digital times, DCM is risky business for any organisation. Organisations rely on their servers for business-critical operations. There is a rule of thumb in the trade that states that 70% of pre-cloud IT budget is spent on keeping the lights on, i.e. maintaining current IT estate.
That’s money not spent on value-add activities leading to greater competitiveness and agility in uncertain times.
Take an ERP system as an example. What if, as a result of a new product launch, the B2C traffic and transactional volume increased by 33%? How long would it take the pre-cloud IT department to scale up the infrastructure? Could it be done easily and cheaply in less than two weeks?
What if the organisation mobilises an uber array of geographically dispersed techie talent to develop the next greatest app to drive sales? How long would it take a pre-cloud IT department to provide the tooling for the team?
The answers all depend on how unwieldy the organisation’s infrastructure is. Infrastructure as a service offers:
- a reduction in risk,
- an increase in predictability,
- quicker time to market,
- reduced operational expenditure,
- turnkey environments,
- end-to-end support,
- proven interoperability,
- less management, and
- repeatable deployment.
In all likelihood, the Target Operating Environment (TOE) within the scope of a DCM will be a cloud platform. There are 4 types:
- private cloud,
- public cloud,
- hybrid, and
- community cloud.
These cloud solutions are becoming a daily staple in the buffet of technologies you will encounter on an IT programme. When the target operating environment is cloud, you need to view the cloud solution as a key capability for delivering the DCM business case.
Monkey Episode 16: The Most Monstrous Monster
The starting point for any DCM is to liken the migration to changing an aeroplane’s engine whilst in mid flight. Your aim is to change the engine without anyone realising you have changed the engine. There are many types of DCM. Understanding the types of migration, will influence the shape and approach to the project.
- Data Centre Relocation (DCR) – Relocation of services from one data centre to another.
- Data Centre Consolidation (DCC) – Relocation of services host at many locations to fewer locations.
- Data Centre Transformation (DCT) – Using DCM as a means to radically improve efficiency and effectives.
Continued in Tin and Wires: Data Centre Migration Master Class, part 2