Why the Best Laid Plans Still Need a Practice Run for a Data Center Migration Event

Why the best laid plans still need a practice run for data center migration eventby Dave Boudreau

So, you’ve pulled the information you need and have laid out the strategic plan for your next data center migration event.

Now you’re ready to attack the project head on.

Or are you?

  • How do you determine that your plan has accounted for as many avoidable event day issues as possible?
  • Have any processes changed since the plan was created?
  • Are the people assigned to complete the tasks during the event the right ones?
  • Are they available?
  • What is the best way to verify that these details are correct and that nothing else has been overlooked?

To ensure you are in an optimal position heading into execution day, you should prepare for your data center migration event the same way you would for any other important event. Before a wedding there’s a rehearsal dinner, before a baseball team takes field for a game they practice, and the same should be done before an IT event.

A Practice Run Ensures the Success of a Data Center Migration

A tabletop event is a practice or rehearsal for your IT event which allows everyone who will be a part of the event to walk through the steps as a group. During this process it is not uncommon (and even a good thing!) to expose flaws or vulnerabilities in the plan. For instance, it may uncover some additional steps that should be taken and point to processes that may need refinement. It may reveal that some of the people assigned to complete the work have since moved on to a different role, or may be unavailable during the event window, or they could be the wrong person altogether.

Once any changes have been discovered, you can go back to your process and update it to reflect the new details. It is a best practice to conduct a second tabletop event after implementing the changes.  Doing so provides the opportunity for everyone involved with the event to walk through the updated runbook and validate that the plan is as accurate and ready for execution.


Tabletop events give you the opportunity to find potential issues in a “safe” environment, one that allows for corrections that will save time and money. All potential issues are going to surface at some point, so it’s best that it doesn’t happen on the event day. The ripple effect of having to remove an asset from an event because of an oversight could be extensive depending on the relationships between applications and infrastructure within the project. That sort of last-minute change increases the risk to the business and may cause the entire event to be postponed or canceled.

A plan is a good place to start.  But it’s just that, a start.

There’s a reason that expressions such as “practice makes perfect” and “you should measure twice and cut once” have lasted – because practice is a proven methodology. To ensure a successful IT project you need to start with accurate up-to-date data and a proven process that mitigates risk where possible. The only way to ensure that you have set the project up for success is to walk through the process, step by step, with the people who will be performing the actual work. The team executing the work will have a stronger understanding of how their work impacts the overall project and comfort in the fact that they had input on the “how” and “when” their work will be completed.

To learn what to expect and how to prepare: Get the Survival Guide for Data Center Migrations


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