Success is in the Details

Last week I discussed why discovery is important and some questions to ask before starting the process.

Today’s post is about the details that are most likely to trip up a major data center project. One piece of seemingly trivial hardware that isn’t moved over to the new environment can shut down a vital system or, because of interdependencies, multiple systems.Woman looking through magnifying lens

The first two items involved in discovery that we’ll discuss are servers and storage.

• Servers

The workhorses of your data center, information collected for every physical server should include: manufacturer and model number; physical attributes (memory, CPU, storage, NICs, HBAs); firmware; location; MAC addresses; IP addresses and VLANs; configuration settings; operating systems or hypervisors; virtual servers running on each physical server; applications or services running on each physical/virtual server; and known interrelationships between servers. Keep in mind that not only are application and database servers important, but crucial infrastructure servers that support “under the hood” functionality areas are as well.

• Storage

The cost of storage has dropped dramatically over the years, which means the cost of storing each gigabyte of critical data is a small fraction of what it once was. The downside is that low cost has encouraged data proliferation, little of which is ever deleted.

Critical data storage information that must be documented includes:

  • Where are all of the storage units and what data is stored where? What makes and models are in service?
  • Is the data structured or unstructured?
  • Which applications will be affected if some storage units are shut down for maintenance?
  • How is data backed up? Is all data backed up to the level warranted by its criticality? What, if any, archiving plans are in place?

Next time I’ll discuss discovery and networks, applications, middleware services and contracts.