May 2013

ITAD Considerations Before Cloud Migration

6 ITAD Issues to Consider Before a Cloud Migration

By: Cindy Miller, Lifespan Technololgy

Empowered by advances in server and virtualization technology, as well as more secure and flexible cloud service offerings, more and more companies are choosing to move their applications to lower-cost, more energy-efficient systems, or entirely to the cloud. Cloud migration has become an especially prevalent trend, as companies discover the greater flexibility and easier IT infrastructure management the cloud can provide. For many companies, the benefits of a cloud migration or server consolidation are clear, but such a significant systems change requires careful IT asset management planning to ensure the transition is completed according to plan, on budget, and on time.

IT management teams planning for a cloud migration or data center consolidation are concerned about:

  • Downtime
  • Data security
  • Initial cost vs. long-term savings
  • Customer support

A cloud migration or data center consolidation always leaves IT assets in its wake—the servers and other hardware formerly used for storage and networking. Sometimes it’s beneficial to business operations to redeploy these assets, but often they need to be removed for recycling or remarketing.

Often, planning for IT asset disposition (ITAD) and data security and destruction is pushed to the end of a cloud migration or data center consolidation project, but planning ahead for moving and disposing of assets and managing any data stored on them will reduce risk, costs, and stress for the operations team.

Here are six ITAD areas organizations should consider before a data center migration or shut down:

1. Disposal or redeployment

After the project, do surplus IT assets have a place in your organization’s IT infrastructure? Consider their operational and resale value.

2. Data destruction or sanitization

Because of the high risk involved, data security is a high priority for most organizations. Data retention policies and data security policies for tapes and hard drives can impact costs and the ability to complete the data center project or cloud migration on time. Many corporate policies require that  data must be either destroyed or sanitized (wiped) before the tapes or hard drives can be removed from the facility.

3. Regulatory and environmental compliance

Every company must adhere to certain industry regulations as well as federal and state environmental regulations. To prevent fines and bad publicity, asset disposition must be complete in compliance with both.

4. Investment recovery

Equipment that has been retired from data center use and not marked for redeployment has potential value on the resale market. For maximum value, remarketing decisions should be planned thoughtfully as early in the process as possible.

5. Leased asset management

If some data center assets are leased, when planning a migration or consolidation, companies need to decide whether to return the assets to the lessor or buy out.

6. Space and time

Large IT asset disposition projects take up space and people’s time that might not be available or might be put to better use—getting the new servers online, for example.  Plan ahead to minimize this impact.

Best Practice for a Cloud Migration: Plan Ahead for ITAD

Because of the risk and costs involved, proper IT asset disposition should not be overlooked or performed too hastily in the schedule crunch of a major operations change like a cloud migration or a data center consolidation. Don’t wait until the end of a project to plan for it. Our guide, “Cloud Migration, Data Center Consolidation, and IT Asset Disposition,” discusses in depth the six areas of concern listed above and suggests best practices for planning for them before consolidating or closing a data center.