A Checklist for Data Center Decommissioning

Data center decommissioning is a complex process. To help, we've prepared a checklist that includes all of the key steps you'll want to take to ensure a smooth process.

Christopher Tozzi, Technology Analyst

April 29, 2024

2 Min Read
yellow checklist with blue marker

Sooner or later, all of the equipment inside a data center reaches the end of its useful life. When that happens, it's time to perform data center decommissioning, which ensures that outdated equipment is properly disposed of.

Data center decommissioning is a complex process. To help, we've prepared the following free checklist, which includes all of the key steps you'll want to take for a successful data center decommissioning.

What is Data Center Decommissioning?

Before diving in, let's make clear what the purpose of decommissioning is.

Data center decommissioning is the process of removing IT assets from a data center. In other words, when you decommission, you shut down and dispose of servers, network switches or other equipment that you no longer need.

Data center decommissioning can happen for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Equipment upgrades: You may replace older servers with newer ones.

  • Moving to the cloud: Some infrastructure inside a data center may no longer be necessary because you've moved workloads to the public cloud.

  • Data center consolidation: You may be shutting down servers or other equipment as part of a consolidation strategy that reduces the total number of data centers you operate.

To be clear, data center decommissioning does not typically refer to shutting down an entire data center (although if that's what you're doing, decommissioning is one part of the process). The purpose of decommissioning is simply to remove some of the infrastructure inside a data center.

Data Center Decommissioning Checklist

This downloadable Decommissioning a Data Center Checklist has been curated with your needs at the forefront – whether you're an experienced data center professional navigating the complexities of decommissioning, or someone new to the process seeking a clear and concise roadmap. 

It includes details relating to the following critical steps: 

  • Identify Assets to Decommission: Begin by creating a detailed inventory of servers, switches, and other equipment slated for decommissioning. 

  • Identify and Notify Stakeholders: Ensure all relevant parties are informed about the decommissioning process. 

  • Create a Migration Plan: Develop a structured plan for migrating workloads to new equipment or alternative environments. 

  • Create Backups: Backing up data hosted on decommissioned assets is a prudent step to safeguard against potential data loss. 

  • Migrate Workloads: Transfer workloads either to new equipment or temporary storage locations like cloud platforms. 

  • Sanitize Systems: Permanently erase data from decommissioned equipment to prevent unauthorized access and protect sensitive information. 

Download your free copy of the checklist below!

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About the Author(s)

Christopher Tozzi

Technology Analyst, Fixate.IO

Christopher Tozzi is a technology analyst with subject matter expertise in cloud computing, application development, open source software, virtualization, containers and more. He also lectures at a major university in the Albany, New York, area. His book, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” was published by MIT Press.

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