Data Center Discovery is a phase – not a lifestyle

Data Center Discovery

Christopher Columbus was at sea 71 days before discovering America.  If your Data Center Migration project plan includes more than 71 days for discovery, something’s probably wrong.

Obviously, the Data Center Discovery phase is one of the most important stages of a Data Center migration project.  If performed efficiently, discovery focuses on a set of key interviews with SME’s (subject matter experts) from within your organization coupled with experienced consultants who know what to ask for and where to look for it.  The interviews generally last an hour and are aimed at understanding dependencies between infrastructure, applications and business requirements.  It’s these dependencies which most affect the size and quantity of migration events and that’s ultimately the goal right?  Move it as quickly and efficiently as possible while limiting the risks.

Frequently however, we hear of projects with discovery phases lasting 180 days or even longer.  In these cases, the consulting organization or customer is likely collecting hundreds or thousands of unnecessary data points that have very little impact on the overall move strategy.  We refer to this as “boiling the ocean”.  In fact, too much data can often be crippling to the project team and prohibit efficiency and effective decision-making.

There’s no single reason for these prolonged engagements, but reliance on automation at the beginning of the engagement is a common culprit.  Too many customers and consultants bypass or delay the all-important SME Interview Process in favor of automation.

There’s no substitute for face-to-face meetings in the discovery phase, especially early-on in the process.  Application criticality, dependency mapping and business impact are crucial topics requiring conversations between experts.  E-mails, spreadsheets and automated discovery tools just don’t provide an accurate enough picture and spending an hour or so in a conference room should be one of the easiest decisions you’ll make throughout the project.   One thing is undeniable though; there’s no replacement for leveraging both internal and external expertise, and anything more than 71 days better involve discovering a new continent


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