The data center decommissioning process is one of the most important steps in a data center’s life cycle. Decommissioning is the process of removing servers, storage, networking equipment and other critical assets from the facility. The goal of this process is to reduce the risks associated with IT operations and maintenance.

Depending on the facility’s size and infrastructure, decommissioning can be performed in many stages.  Typically, the first step is to identify all of the servers and storage devices that need to be removed from the facility. This includes both active systems (those running) and inactive systems (those not running).

Once this step has been completed, it is time to perform an inventory of each devices’ components including their part numbers as well as their serial numbers. This information will help ensure that all of the devices are accounted for after they have been removed from service.

So, why decommission a data center?

Decommissioning a data center is an important step in ensuring that you have the right infrastructure in place for future growth.  When you’re migrating your IT infrastructure to the Cloud or upgrading your old IT infrastructure, that’s when it makes sense to decommission your data center and replace your old IT equipment with the newest, most recent equipment.

Most businesses hire a certified IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) company for data center decommissioning. If you decommission your data center without proper planning or without properly updating the IT infrastructure, you may end up with a data center that is less efficient which could have negative consequences on your organization’s productivity or reputation.

Here are some major factors for choosing a data center decommissioning:

  • Your company wants to update their IT equipment to enhance productivity & business growth.
  • A cloud server and the business’s IT Infrastructure are no longer compatible.
  • An organization needs to update its facilities to provide improved services.
  • To enhance or build a better security system.
  • Data Center relocation
  • Redesign of its data center connection.
  • Upgrading to cutting-edge equipment.
  • Your company wishes to cut expenses.
  • Your company decides to stop using specific components of the data center.
  • Your company wants to grow its clientele.

Are you prepared to begin implementing your data center decommissioning plan? Here are some guidelines to follow:

Determine the Project Scope 

Before getting into the specific strategy and execution, begin with a fundamental analysis of the scope of the project before.  Start by asking and responding to the following 3 key questions:

  • What is the program’s primary objective?
  • How much time does the project require?
  • How much is the budget?

Make a thorough checklist

Once you’ve determined the broad parameters of the project, the next step is to dive deeper. The most crucial step in this phase is to define and draw up a list of every piece of hardware and application that will be eliminated.  Make a thorough inventory list of just about everything that is going to be discontinued based on your network scanning, plus physical inspection.

Start planning 

The teams participating in the decommissioning project must be identified, followed by a discussion of their individual roles and responsibilities, and a timeframe for completion.  Providing employees with their precise roles and responsibilities will create less down time and more efficiencies throughout the decommissioning process.  

Get the Essential Equipment

if you’re managing the decommissioning or data center transfer in-house, determine the tools, gear, and hardware you’ll require for the project.  If you intend to have a 3rd party vendor complete the project for you, make sure that they’ve been through extensive background screenings, security clearances, and other approval processes.

Hardware Removal or Relocation

Before the decommission project begins, review the overall strategy to make sure things are still on track and address any pending details at that time.  If, for example, any person assisting with the decommission needs access to secure information or needs to enter a secure area within the building, make sure those clearances are provided in advance.  

In addition to all the steps you’ve already planned for, make sure to isolate all of the items on your checklist from the system in a structured and organized manner.  Then, take a moment to determine whether server shutdowns have created any problematic situations.

Erase Records

Your decommissioning effort is not finished until every piece of data-bearing hardware and software has been securely erased, destroyed, or sanitized.  You can re-purpose, recycle, or sell these assets based on your specific needs.  Keep in mind that any hardware that still holds value can be refurbished and re-marketed in order to bring back money to your bottom line.

Follow up 

Last-minute inventory inspections must be performed before any assets, even the ones destroyed on the spot, go out of the facility. To ensure compliance measures are met, each asset must be well documented. The finance and accounting departments should then receive this data in order to ensure they have accumulated the proper write-offs for yearly financial reporting.


Although managing and moving your databases can be scary, decommissioning is necessary to ensure you are using the most-up to-date technology and hardware that will improve your operations.  Doing it is necessary but make sure you’re doing it right, especially when it comes to security. To relieve some of the burdens of effectively transferring the data, we advise that you partner with a certified IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) provider.  They can handle the entire project from start to finish, leaving you to focus on more important things.

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