How to Plan and Execute Seamless Server Migration

May 15,2023 by Sneha Mishra
Server Migration

Today, server migration has become paramount for data-dependent businesses. As you progress in your digitalization journey, you may be required to migrate your data to a robust server. It can be to boost capacity and response time or to cater to any other requirement. However, before you take this step, it’s crucial to have a concrete plan and execute it seamlessly. A poorly planned and enforced server migration can lead to unpredicted challenges and downtime. Moreover, data loss or downtime in migration can lead to lost productivity, revenue, and customer trust. 

What is Server Migration? 

Before discussing strategies to plan and execute seamless server migration, let’s first clearly understand server migration.

Server migration can be described as moving or transferring data from one server to another. Moreover, it also includes configuring the target server to replace the existing one. When we talk about server migration in web hosting, it describes setting up a web server and database, changing DNS parameters, and copying websites and their configurations. 

When is Server Migration Required? 

Server migration might be required due to numerous reasons, including,

  • Security concerns
  • Equipment failure
  • Outdated servers
  • Speed up the server computer
  • Optimizing website loading performance
  • Protect data from a server crash
  • Inadequate space for the server to store data and applications. 

Technical professionals with expertise in server support and data migrations execute server migrations. It requires a profound understanding of how to avoid unplanned downtime.

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What are the Different Types of Server Migration?

Let’s have a quick look at four types of server migrations:

  1. Mail Server Migration

In mail server migration, all the emails, contacts, appointments, and tasks are migrated from one email host to another. 

  1. Virtual Server Migration 

In a virtual server migration, resources from a physical server are extracted and hosted on a virtualized platform. These resources include operating systems, data, applications, and files.  

  1. Azure Cloud Migration

Microsoft Azure is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform. It offers the perks of a public cloud to small and large businesses. Migrating to this public cloud can boost productivity and decrease costs. 

  1. Cloud Server Migration

Cloud server migration involves transferring business systems, applications, and data from the on-premises computer of an organization to a cloud environment. 

What is the 5-Step Server Migration Plan? 

A seamless and successful server migration plan consists of multiple steps. In this post, we will divide these steps into five categories to help you achieve your goal. Let’s have a glance at them:

Step 1: Preparing the New Server

Before you migrate your existing server to a new one, you must prepare your new server. Your new server should be adequately sized to properly fit all the website’s and application’s data. Moreover, it should be configured for any incoming data and digital assets. Ensure all critical services and packages are installed and activated in the new environment. 

Bonus Tip: Build approximately 20% extra storage space in your new server to accommodate future growth. 

Step 2: Assessing Data Fidelity 

Before migration, ensuring that all data is accounted for is crucial. Losing even a tiny fraction of data in transition, such as a connection string or CSS file, can impact your application’s or site’s performance. 

Experts recommend noting the critical aspects of your site and what engages with other services before migrating. To ensure identical functionality after migration, themes and plugins should be checked before and after migration.

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You can assemble an external backup of your website before migration to ensure you have data safely stored in case of any unfortunate incident. 

Step 3: Data Transfer

Now comes the most time-consuming step of server migration. The transfer process can begin once you’ve prepared the new server environment and properly secured all data.

Remember, bandwidth between your old and new server acts as a migration conduit. The more bandwidth, the faster data migration and the lower the downtime. 

Step 4: Testing 

Testing is the next step after data migration. Conduct rigorous testing to identify unexpected issues, evaluate the effectiveness of resolution strategies, and assess how the internal system in the new environment looks. It might seem time-consuming, but it will prevent any surprises in the long run. 

Testing ensures quality and process improvement from one migration to the next. Don’t forget to document how you will perform testing post-migration. 

Step 5: Changing DNS and Going Live

After you have taken all the essential four steps, it’s time to switch your DNS. It will direct traffic from your old server to the new environment. Pointing your new server at a new DNS is a simple step. However, when not performed accurately can impact the performance of your site. 

Bonus Tip: Make your DNS switch during off-peak usage periods. 

What Are Smart Strategies to Plan and Execute Seamless Server Migration? 

Server migration is a common practice. However, each is unique and comes with its own specification that should be handled properly. Experts recommend having a clear understanding of the goal that you intend to achieve to ensure seamless server migrations. Let’s look at other strategies. 

  1. Pick a Server that Caters to All Your Requirements 

Review your hosting requirements and choose a server that caters to all your demands. It will help you to reap the most benefits of server migrations. Work with a technology expert that meets your long-term goals. 

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Remember, the most expensive server is not necessarily the right choice. Find a service provider that offers a flexible and competitive pricing plan. 

  1. Perform Migrations During Off-Hours

Experts recommend performing server migration during off-hours or when minimal business is expected. It enables the IT team to focus dedicatedly on migration and lowers the chance of disruption. Moreover, it prevents the network from becoming saturated or the legacy environment from being overwhelmed. 

  1. Design Strategy to Reduce Downtime

Before you initiate server migration, designing a strategy for reducing downtime is a good idea. For instance, migrating the sites “on the fly” by changing the A record and reducing the TTL. It ensures that the site is instantly moved to the new server. 

  1. Don’t Schedule Server Migration Prior to a Crucial Business Period

Avoid scheduling server migration prior to any critical periods of your business. For instance, an online retailer should not plan server migration before Black Friday. It can lead to the deterrence of a situation where an issue is required to be fixed in an unrealistic time frame. Thus, resulting in significant disruption. 

  1. Don’t Initiate a Server Migration Till the Exploration Period is Over

One of the key reasons for challenges in server migration is incomplete exploration. Thus, experts recommend not initiating the server migration until the exploration period ends. It can be a time-consuming process. However, it will save you and your team from headaches in the long run. 

Bottom Line

Server migration is a simple process. However, it is complex to execute. Strategies a flawless plan and take precautions while performing to ensure a seamless migration. You can take expert help to ensure a smooth and successful server migration.  

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