It's possible to outgrow a data center. Sometimes current providers don't have enough space or power to accommodate a steadily growing company. Furthermore, higher-level executives decide it's time to move workloads somewhere else due to changes in business relationships. Enterprises may also rent space in multiple data center environments and want to connect them with one cohesive architecture, requiring the movement of data from one center to another. No matter the case, it's important for IT managers to understand their options, challenges and solutions when it comes to shifting workloads to a new data center space, and swing migrations could offer a great solution.

What is swing space?
Besides physically moving every server into the new data center space, enterprises also have the option to utilize swing space. Data center servers can be rented for this purpose. This basically means that data and applications are replicated in the new data center instead of physically moving the servers to a new building. Companies can rent server space in the new data center ahead of moving and transfer small, less critical loads at the beginning of the migration to make it easier in the long run, according to TechRepublic. Conducting a swing migration over a leased circuit may be the right solution to ensure minimal server downtime.

Where does the cloud come in?
Swing migrations can be made possible by virtual environments within the cloud. According to TechRepublic, physical servers can be virtualized during a migration through the use of a leased circuit. This type of physical-to-virtual conversion can help keep hardware costs to a minimum. When more workloads are moved to or through the cloud, less physical equipment is necessary, keeping maintenance costs low and allowing IT managers to focus more energy on the data transfer itself.

The importance of planning ahead
When moving workloads to a new environment, it doesn't matter if a company utilizes swing techniques or does a complete physical transfer of server equipment. It is absolutely crucial to make sure to be ready for such a huge shift. In an article for Data Center Knowledge, Jerry Gentry, vice president of IT Program Management at Nemertes Research, stressed the importance of making sure the new data center space can accommodate the necessary workflows. Gentry said companies can do this by establishing requirements that will allow for easy management of new technologies.

"As density increases, power, HVAC, connective media and floor loading are all going to increase," Gentry said. "For a starting point, look at the current power demand per square foot and either increase it by 50 percent or 100 percent, depending on how close you are to the top of the current availability."

Making sure the cloud infrastructure can handle workflow migration is also key, as is updating disaster recovery plans and implementation processes. No matter the migration process, cloud server providers should be able to assist enterprises with the transfer of data between physical data centers or from physical to virtual environments.