While moving to the cloud has gone from an internal debate to an inevitability for most businesses, one element keeping some companies lagging behind is a case of migration anxiety. They’ve spent thousands investing in a secure infrastructure and are rightfully protective of their critical data. These can be healthcare practices working hard to stay compliant with government regulations or engineering firms with critical plans and contracts on their servers.
Even if the C-level executives like what they hear about cutting costs on legacy hardware, maintenance, staffing, and training costs for their IT, and are committed to migrating to the cloud, problems can remain for the IT director. The devil is in the details. One problem we’ve encountered in companies whose IT is still in a reactive or immature state is fragmented inventory. Through lack of attention to documentation or storage pathways, critical data can be scattered hither and yon: a desktop here, a dropbox there, a backup disk, a OneDrive folder, and this is on top of whatever officially designated storage pathways are in place for the company.
One key step in a migration plan and that will help greatly reduce that migration anxiety is consolidation. This crucial step in data center migration requires some planning, and in some instances extra tools in the tool belt.
Here are some tools to help get a handle on inventory and one step closer to IT Maturity.
Existing Company Intranet
Whatever tools you currently have in place could very well get the job done, if you use a central repository for documentation, whether SharePoint in Office 365, Google Drive for Work, Dropbox for Business, or something else. The IT administrator can simply build a custom inventory form and provide instructions for each department to update the inventory list accordingly. Call this the lo-fi solution, suitable for small businesses with under 75-100 employees. As long there’s a specific person per department and a due date assigned well in advance of the planned migration, this can work.
Dell Asset Manager
For more extensive enterprise level inventory management, you may need to deploy more powerful tools like Dell’s Asset Manager. These agent-based tools can comb through user hardware and software data, whether Windows or Mac, Active Directory, Citrix, VMware, Hyper-V (if you’re already virtualized), and allow you to reconcile inventory with licenses, for a comprehensive overview.
HP Universal Discovery
This is also a very robust IT Asset inventory tool that can track inventory data either by deploying agents and compiling data center inventory information, or by agentless IP range scanning. This requires a good deal of back end configuration on behalf of the IT team, but the result is an automated, non-invasive process that gives a comprehensive overview of inventory.
For large, complex IT infrastructures, a more robust inventory tracking system like BMC Atrium can be useful. Such solutions can be cost prohibitive in the SMB to mid-market, but for the enterprise, this solution provides insight into system interdependencies and can ease the path toward migration by bundling software user groups as well.
These tools help move companies from an ad hoc break-fix approach to having the capacity for proactive management. Even if cloud migration is not on the immediate horizon, getting the IT environment and assets consolidated and mapped out is an important step toward unified governance and IT Maturity.