Five Key Elements to Successful IT Infrastructure Migration

CIOs of large enterprise organizations are relentlessly challenged to keep costs down, security postures tight, and provision new IT infrastructure. It’s a tough enough job – without the headaches of legacy IT infrastructure.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, over 50% of government agencies will have modernized critical core legacy applications. The goal will be to improve resilience and agility.

There are many good reasons driving your migration from legacy IT infrastructure to modern infrastructure. Security, costs, efficiencies, speed to innovation. IT migration projects must be done thoughtfully to avoid risks and disruption.

This SDI blog highlights five key factors that make IT infrastructure migrations successful. Our Team’s insights were gained from over 25 years of leading large-scale and complex IT modernizing initiatives.

The Five Key Elements of IT Infrastructure Migration

IT Migration Experience

Experience Matters. Modernizing critical IT infrastructure is not for the faint of heart. The potential risks involved are varied – from losing key revenue generation for your organization, to losing critical data. Your migration project team should include server administrators, network engineers, desktop engineers, and application owners.

“Experience speaks volumes,” states SDI’s MIKELL MORTON. Mikell recently led SDI’s team through a large municipal client’s server migration project. This project included 159 Linux and Windows servers. “This took complete team engagement to accomplish during a Pandemic.”

Proper server configuration and critical data migration to the target server requires expertise. The project team must have the experience to draw from to achieve a flawless migration.


In 2020, SDI took on the ambitious project of updating a large Municipal IT environment. This included upgrading, replacing, and taking offline every server that had an end-of-life operating system.

This included previous servers that were owned by around 35 different Municipal support teams. Each support team had differing requirements to go forward. Many meetings and strategies had to be developed for each business case. The result was that the SDI Team successfully made over 90% of our Municipal client’s previous environments virtual.

The year-long project was a great step at removing legacy individual server hardware dependency. The project provided the application support teams with a high availability (HA) on-premises virtual hosting environment. This environment is one step closer to being able to move to the Cloud.

A Proven IT Migration Plan

Proven Processes Pay Off. How do you know what to include in your IT Infrastructure Migration Plan? Here is a simple definition.

An IT infrastructure migration plan defines the scope and process for migrating legacy physical and virtual infrastructure. The plan addresses four key areas: storage media, applications, databases, and data.

A well-detailed and proven plan is essential for successful server migration and moving data. The plan starts at approval and ends with a closed-out project.

This should be followed for every single server! The migration plan should include the different types and sizes of servers. Some systems migrations include a rewrite of all apps, while some are simple.

Your migration plan should include how to work with application vendors and other unique server situations. Make sure that your plan addresses common shared dependencies in your user environment.

Check APIs, network traffic, check performance and latency. Have a rigorous testing process to confirm an error-free and complete environment. All these elements save time reconciling issues at a later date.

Detailed Infrastructure Knowledge

Understand the Nuances of Your Current Servers. With so many moving parts and required precision, intimate knowledge of each legacy server is critical to set expectations. Knowing the detailed history of the legacy environment is critical to guiding a low-risk migration.

Key Questions

Your team must work together to explore and identify critical information of the native IT environment:

  • Why were the legacy systems brought in?
  • What Municipal capacity was envisioned then and required today?
  • What have the traffic and access patterns been over time?
  • What departments and individual users’ critical data is required – and when?
  • What is your end users’ planned growth over the next five years?

The team should look through RAID logs, return to previous issues and anticipate risks. Careful consideration should also be taken when choosing the type of server you will be moving toward. Your company’s IT strategy will provide direction on whether this is hardware or cloud native. All this relevant information will dictate important details and direction within the plan.

Strong Communication

Communication is Key! With so much hanging in the balance, it is so critical to make sure that all stakeholders communicate.

Make sure that all stakeholders are identified and within a single communications channel (i.e.: group email or chat). For each stakeholder, get an emergency contact number. Ask each stakeholder for any important events that are planned for the time of the migration. Address any high profile initiatives that might be impacted.

Create a timeline and communications plan. This plan will define the start date, duration, and when operations can resume. There should be no surprises during the active migration. A thoughtful communications plan will ensure smooth sailing.

Clear Migration Documentation

Document, Document, Document! It is especially important to document all aspects of server migrations, considering the many stakeholders are involved. Aside from the owner’s IT team, stakeholders may include multiple partners with equipment manufacturers, application vendors, and multiple client departments. Documentation should include network detail, applications with descriptions, owners of data, and the responsible departments.

Choose the right IT Migration Project Partner

As your organization looks to modernize its IT environment, it is critical to assemble a strong team. This team must incorporate these five areas into its migration strategy. Modernizing IT infrastructure is imperative in today’s market to achieve necessary security and operation. Be prepared to make the needed commitment to ensure that your modernizing initiatives are accomplished successfully.

SDI offers comprehensive IT modernization services that include strategic roadmaps, technical services, and ongoing IT infrastructure managed services.

Each project is run by PMP-certified Project Managers. They lead a team of well-certified IT experts. They use our proven migration methodology to deliver a cost-efficient and low-risk IT migration.

CONTACT US for more information on how SDI can assist your organization with modernizing its IT legacy infrastructure.

About SDI’s Guest Bloggers

SDI’s Delivery Executive MIKELL MORTON is a leader in data center modernization, infrastructure management, and cloud operations with over 16 years of experience managing large data centers for private and public-sector organizations.

With proven experience in managing migrations to public and private cloud systems, Mr. Morton maintains a strong technical background, having served as the Data Center Manager and Sr. Manager – Cyber Infrastructure and Data Center Operations, Technical Support Manager, and Network Support Leader. He is certified in IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundations and AWS Leadership (Data Center).

SDI’s Senior Vice President of Managed Services SHANNA RAHMING is a former State Chief Information Officer and State Chief Strategy Officer with 3 decades of IT experience leading teams for modernization projects in both public and private sectors.  Ms. Rahming has a strong technical background in both infrastructure and applications and holds various IT certifications including IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundations.