Data Centre Decommissioning


Data centre decommissioning is the practice of removing data centre hardware for relocation, resale, recycling, or disposal while rerouting data to new servers. A company’s data centre is the fuel that powers business operations. Due to the sensitivity of your company’s data, the decommissioning process requires thorough planning and careful execution. It’s more than just dismantling hardware, rewiring network cables, and installing new servers. To get started with the decommissioning process, IT administrators should draft a detailed Data Centre Decommission Project Plan and a Data Centre Decommissioning Checklist. These two documents facilitate smooth decommissioning without disrupting business operations.

Data decommissioning involves:

  • De-installation of computers, servers, cabling, storage devices, power generators, and any other data centre equipment
  • Disposal of end-of-life storage devices such as hard disk drives, solid-state drives, CD ROMs, and DVDs
  • Disposal of e-waste materials
  • Recycling of e-waste and recovery of hardware parts that can be used to manufacture IT equipment
  • Demolition of data centres, removal, and relocation of servers still in use
  • Demolition of data centres, removal, and relocation of servers still in use
  • Data sorting and shredding old data that’s not in use

What is Data Centre Decommission?

Data centre decommissioning is a structured process of de-installing servers and old data infrastructure to make room for newer data management systems. Data decommissioning has become a frequent exercise for companies as they adjust to cloud data management solutions. To decommission a data centre, you need to have a project plan, checklist, and prior communication to all departments notifying staff members about the decommissioning process.

The decommissioning project plan outlines the decommissioning procedure, the time it will take to decommission, data backup schedules, and the reporting template for this process.

The decommissioning checklist collects inventory on servers, desktops, laptops, printers, routers, and other IT equipment. In addition, the list captures details such as IP addresses, model names, software information, and storage information.

A typical data decommissioning checklist contains the following items:
  • The Scope of the decommissioning work
  • A list of data centre assets and peripheral equipment
  • A decommissioning plan with a time frame, responsibilities, specific people in charge, budgets, and roles.
  • The tools required for the decommissioning work
  • Action Plan For physically removing infrastructure, backing up, and erasing data
  • A relocation plan for packing, clearing, and movement of assets
data sanitization
ITAD Checklist

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Map Dependencies Among Data Centre Resources

Dependencies are resources that depend on one another to operate. Mapping dependencies among data centre resources identify the degree of reliance for one resource against another. For data centre resources, the key dependencies are between front-end applications and back-end data resources in the form of IP addresses, networking across the organization, and how servers connect to devices.

Let’s say you want to decommission several servers. Mapping dependencies shows you what equipment relies on those servers, their IP addresses, and what operations rely on those servers. With this information, you can decommission data centres in phases while other business operations continue without disruptions.
We get rid of everything. Guaranteed. At TechReset, we offer both secure data erasure and physical hard drive shredding to ensure your informatSecure Data Erasure & IT Asset Deployment Service
Failure to map dependencies before decommissioning data centres is a recipe for chaos. Business operations are disrupted, and critical information can easily get lost, leading to additional data recovery costs.

The best practice is to conduct a thorough review of your systems then map out how each server connects and depends on front-end applications. Once you have a clear picture, you can start the decommissioning process.

Mapping dependencies among data centre resources helps IT practitioners understand the impact of the decommissioning process. This approach leads to better planning and lesser downtime.

Why Data Centre Decommissioning Important?

As data centre management moves away from localized management to cloud-based/remote management, the benefits of data centre decommissioning are becoming more apparent. Some of the benefits include:

Protection Against Security Threats

As data systems evolve, it's essential to remove old and outdated hardware. Keeping old equipment increases the chance of hackers gaining access to sensitive data, and data breaches become more common. In addition, new security features and updates are usually not available for outdated equipment.

Older Equipment is Costly to Maintain

Newer servers consume less power compared to older models. Therefore, decommissioning helps you save on peripheral costs in the long run.

Improves Data Management Systems

New models automate tasks that were previously manual and tedious. With automation, companies can monitor how data is managed across the organization. As a result, IT administrators can focus on more productive work.

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Steps Involved in Data Centre Decommissioning

1. Define the Scope of Work

Start by drafting a data centre decommissioning plan that includes a scope of work, goals, expectations, budgets, and time frame. The plan should also highlight all the stakeholders involved in this process, the person in charge of monitoring and reporting. The best practice is to assign an IT administrator to oversee the process and be the primary contact person throughout this process. Next, the data decommissioning plan should indicate backup schedules so that everyone knows how to realign their work.

2. Inventory and Dependency Mapping

This next stage involves taking inventory of all your data centre equipment, hardware, and software. Doing this prevents cases of unaccounted assets, theft, and damage. The inventory list should list all servers, computers, printers, routers, storage devices, and any other IT equipment within the premises. Work with your data centre decommissioning service provider to help you classify all items into their respective categories. Your service provider should also be part of the inventory-taking process to help you identify equipment for resale, recycling, or disposal. In addition to hardware equipment, compile all software details such as computer model information, operating systems licenses, and IP addresses. Once all inventories have been crosschecked, map dependencies across all data centre resources. Identify and note down all front-end functions with their corresponding back-end databases. Dependency mapping ensures the data decommissioning process is done with minimal disruption to the business.

3. Create an Implementation Plan

Data decommissioning projects involve multiple tasks, so a thorough implementation plan and schedule are necessary. The implementation plan needs to indicate roles, responsibilities, and tasks to be performed by each person involved. The plan should have a schedule for how the decommissioning will take place. Create time frames and split departments across the time slots to ensure business goes on with minimal interruption. Include a data centre decommissioning checklist in the implementation plan. Add the items below to your checklist.

  • Preferred communication channel to keep in touch with team members
  • List of team members, external vendor names, and their contacts
  • Data backup schedule
  • List of equipment to be decommissioned
  • The data centre destruction and asset removal schedules
  • List of inventory identified in step 2

4. Tools and Labor Required for Decommissioning

Discuss with your decommissioning service provider to agree on the tools and labor required and set aside a budget for this. Decide if you'll need extra labor and hours they will work. Essential tools needed to complete the job include:

  • Boxes and pallets
  • Forklifts
  • Hoists
  • Data shredders
  • Degaussers
  • packing foam to protect fragile equipment
  • Packing tape and labels
  • Bar-code readers
  • Hand tools – drills, screwdrivers, testing equipment
  • Safety wear – overalls, safety hats, gloves, masks

5. Equipment Removal, Data Sanitization, and Destruction

Before the decommissioning process starts, review all checklists and ensure data is backed up. Get approvals from all stakeholders so they know the decommissioning process is about to begin. Getting sign-offs ensures nothing is left behind, and everyone is in agreement with the decommissioning plan. Review your data sanitization and destruction policies before starting the destruction process. Reviewing the policies protects your company from policy violations, lawsuits, and penalties. In addition, make sure the data destruction process complies with the law. The data destruction method will depend on the level of data sensitivity and storage device. You can choose to either delete, degauss, shred or incinerate storage devices. As for all other equipment, the ITAD company will physically remove and transport the equipment to their recycling plant. Have a staff member oversee the equipment removal process for safety purposes

6. Pack Up The It Equipment

When the tear-down process is complete, start labeling and packing up the IT equipment. Have a checklist that lists each item per box, its specification, and the disposition method to be applied. This makes it easier to identify equipment. Automate the checklist so that it's accessible remotely and project managers can track the equipment easily.

7. Coordination of Disposal and Asset Recovery

Liaise with IT administrators, accounting, and the project manager to crosscheck each packed item. This ensures all items have been accounted for and non have been damaged or lost during the packing process. Talk to your service provider to prepare a report on all items received, items to be recycled, and what will be disposed of. This ensures your records match the reports provided. Finally, estimate the revenue you stand to generate from reselling the IT equipment. At Tech Reset, we calculate the Return On Investment to estimate how much our clients can make from reselling their IT equipment.

Data Centre Relocation

Securing your Data During the Decommissioning Process

The decommissioning process can expose your sensitive data to unauthorized parties. In most cases, the data centre decommissioning process employs the services of external vendors. Indicate in the vendors’ contract the rules, compliance requirements, and consequences for data breaches.
Hard Drive Shredding
The contracting company also needs to identify specific people working for you during the decommissioning process and notify you if any changes occur once the work begins. Again, this approach prevents data from being handled by many individuals and reduces the chances of data leaking.

It’s also no secret that your assets may be susceptible to theft. Ensure IT equipment is accounted for, and there’s a supervising staff member on location to oversee the work.

Install bio-metric scanners and cameras in your server rooms to monitor foot traffic. Monitoring foot traffic will come in handy in case any security issues come up.

Why Choose TechReset as your Data Centre Decommissioning Service Provider

Among data centre decommissioning companies in Canada, TechReset is the clear leader. We provide you with secure, well-coordinated, and high-quality data centre decommissioning services that allow you to focus on your core business. Below are some of the features and benefits of our data decommissioning package.

These are pre-engagement details we provide for you to understand our services.
  • TechReset provides you with a detailed write-up showing how we implement the decommissioning process.
  • We walk you through each step before engaging our services while also customizing each step to your organization’s needs.
  • We walk you through each step before engaging our services while also customizing each step to your organization’s needs.
  • Our decommissioning process provides data destruction and hardware recycling services. Make sure to request a breakdown of the data destruction methods we employ.
  • Our decommissioning process provides data destruction and hardware recycling services. Make sure to request a breakdown of the data destruction methods we employ.
  • TechReset provides resale services where we help you refurbish and resell the hardware you no longer need.
  • The decommissioning plan includes local, state, and federal regulations that govern our services. We also indicate certifications that show our services are certified by the relevant regulatory bodies.
What Is Hard Drive Disposal
TechReset also provides data destruction services using environmentally safe methods. Our team of experts will review your data centre decommissioning requirements and recommend other solutions your business needs. Our company is Blancco certified, where we are a silver partner, has the R2 standard and ISO 9000 standards. We walk with you throughout the data decommissioning process and leave no task untouched. After the decommissioning process is complete, we will prepare comprehensive reports and provide a certificate of destruction. Our services are available across all Canadian cities. For more information about how you can decommission your IT assets, book an appointment today.