A checklist to help guide you through the hyperscale or traditional data center decommissioning process.
How often do you replace your data center servers? While most servers last an average of five years, the timing to replace servers might be more specific to the data center itself. Considerations might include cost efficiencies and performance of the equipment, data center space, and compatibility.
Each data center will replace their equipment when the timing is best for them. Additionally, the priorities, security and commissioning of new equipment will be customized based on those specific needs and requirements.
This checklist will help you determine what you need to consider to complete your data center decommissioning project successfully.
First things first: Ensure the collection scope is clearly defined.
Always start your project by having a clear understanding of what equipment is in need of decommissioning and what conditions items are in. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Has a detailed inventory been prepared?
- Does this include all software licenses associated?
- Is there additional material to be collected, such as cabling?
As you go through your inventory, select the decommissioning stage reached:
- Fully decommissioned
- Partially decommissioned
Take the lead: Who will be leading the project management?
Assigning someone to be responsible for the project management and oversight is recommended to ensure decommissioning goes smooth. Most vendors can offer this as a part of their service. Therefore, you will need to ask yourself if a Project Manager is necessary for your company or not.
Ask yourself the following questions to help consider if an assigned project manager might be necessary for you:
- Are there any maintenance contracts in place that need to be cancelled or adjusted?
- Do any data backups need to be made prior to decommissioning?
- Do you need to go through and disconnect the equipment from the network?
If there are additional elements not previously considered, this might help you identify your project management needs.
Be prepared and stay safe: Review this list for tips.
To plan each project efficiently and safely it is advised to understand and communicate the following to your IT asset disposal or data center decommissioning vendor:
- Volume, weight and dimensions of equipment to be moved and/or collected: This will help determine what equipment will be required to handle the devices as well as overall timing for the activity.
- Location of equipment: Understanding where all devices are located will help determine the distance they will need to be moved, along with any potential risk(s) associated with that movement. This should include floor levels and requirements to use stairs or elevators.
- Site access and restrictions: To ensure equipment can be removed in a safe and secure way avoiding potential risks, it is also important to consider if the project area is being used for any other activities and/or public access. *Note: Make sure you include door and ceiling measurements.
- Site environmental considerations: Your vendor should be notified of any environmental instructions prior to project commencement. *Note: Make sure you include emission controls.
- Site safety considerations: Any existing site safety inductions, regulations and procedures should be shared in advance to ensure compliance. This might include moving plant equipment and other ongoing operations.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Any PPE should be considered in advance.
- Site safety briefing: It is recommended to include risk assessments at the beginning of the project. Ask your vendor if they are able to support and manage this if needed.
- Active and ongoing hazard identification: It is encouraged to identify any hazards present.
- Project hold or abort process: Put in place an agreed process to manage any unexpected circumstances that may arise.
- Share contact details: Contacts might include project leads, on-site contacts and escalation points. Include contingency contacts in case of unplanned absences.
Get the paperwork right: Is any paperwork or documentation required prior to collection?
It is important to share any documentation requirements with your vendor so they can be prepared prior to collection. Ask yourself the following:
- Is your equipment due to be recycled? Ask your vendor if they can provide legislation advice and support to ensure all movements and onward disposition are fully compliant with local regulations, anywhere in the world.
- Are you moving equipment across borders? This is important to understand and communicate. Ensure your vendor can provide support and expert advice on handling trans-frontier shipments including paperwork completion, movement monitoring and advice on cross-boundary tax requirements.
Stay secure: Establish the best level of protection for assets being collected.
In the latest 2019 “Cost of a Data Breach” report by Ponemon Institute, the estimated cost of a data breach is listed at $3.92 million on average. They have also now classified data breaches involving more than 50 million records to be referred to as “mega-data breaches”. These mega-data breaches often can cost an average of $388 million per breach.
Therefore, when it comes to stored data it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the equipment contain data?
- Is the data encrypted or protected by passwords?
- Is the data commercially or data protection sensitive?
Additionally it is important to understand,
Crew Security Clearances: Ensuring the team is cleared through security should be of upmost importance. Confirm all with access to the data center are fully vetted to the appropriate in-country standards, and enhanced security clearances are available when required.
Vehicle Security: At minimum vehicles should be fitted with alarms and immobilizer systems. Vehicle crew should have contact with control rooms at all times.
Enhanced security options: At a global scale there are additional security options to consider including the following:
- Point-to-point logistics
- Split loads across more than one vehicle
- Vehicles with CCTV recording on board
- Vehicles with slam locks that can only be controlled remotely
- Geo-fenced routes that if deviated from will cause an alert to the control room
- Sealed vehicles
- Back up vehicles in case of accident or breakdown
- GPS vehicle tracking
Day-of Considerations: Understanding the order of operations.
Start the day with a team briefing that includes your project manager, if applicable and any related vendor(s). Review the scope, complete a site survey and undertake a risk assessment to ensure a successful outcome.
Working with qualified experts in an organized manner, will help you manage a data center decommissioning project that can ensure data security, compliance and environmentally responsible disposal.
Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS) provides environmentally sustainable solutions to support your data center refreshes, moves and changes. Our fully compliant, secure and standardized data destruction, commissioning and decommissioning services are available across the globe. Learn more.