Strategy for Data Centre Transformation Programme

Services Provided:

REM Consulting developed and delivered a strategy document for a mining client to facilitate a data centre transformation programme. The goal of the data centre transformation programme was to facilitate and deliver the transition of the client’s information technology systems (network, compute and storage) supporting their numerous applications, from the current externally engaged incumbent to an internal owned-and-operated model.

The existing environment comprised approximately 200 servers with a 70%-30% mix of virtual vs physical. Typically each server supported a single instance and served a single application with the exception of an existing SQL 2005/2008 cluster environment and a 2012 Availability Group environment.

To facilitate this program the client was required to establish two greenfield data centres within the Perth, Western Australia area in which the proposed network, compute and storage solution would be built in advance of the migration of identified workloads and applications from the existing outsourced managed data centres.

The client needed help defining a future-state platform for hosting and provisioning SQL Server environments.

This project was a high-visibility program with key stakeholders at the highest level involved. It was required in an extremely aggressive timeframe.

Methodology Used

This project incorporated a two-phase methodology.

Phase 1 – Define a high-level design of the proposed consolidated SQL Server environment. The high level design was to provide the client with a core document which would be circulated and then reviewed for completeness. This document was used to gain agreement from the key client stakeholders in regard to major designs decisions before proceeding to detailed design. This document consisted of a design overview for three levels of support - Gold, Silver and Bronze - plus a standardisation platform. A comprehensive document was assembled and circulated for review. The review was accomplished via a series of meetings between the REM consultant and the key client stakeholders. The document was accepted and signed off by the client and the detailed design activity commenced.

Phase 2 – Development of a detailed design based on the accepted high-level design delivered in phase one, including design of the physical/logical implementation of this solution. This stage required a strong due diligence and discovery phase which included the client, and the current outsourcer. REM assembled a document which fully outlined the requirements for a smooth, seamless transition. Components included (but were not limited to):

Design Overview

  • Environment configuration.
  • Templates supplied for the 3 levels of service
  • Possible design variations
  • Future change options
  • Guidance for standard management practices
  • Migration considerations
  • Risk considerations and mitigation options.
  • Placeholder information
  • Cluster and consolidation guidance.
  • The end document contained a highly detailed design and all decisions were accompanied by strong business justifications.


A key outcome for REM was the Microsoft SQL Server design that leveraged the features available in Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Enterprise Edition, and infrastructure services, to achieve the business and technology benefits outlined in the clients’ technology blueprint. These included:

  • Reductions in cost and increases in business agility using cloud-style services
  • Availability to protect against hardware and software failures
  • Logical separation between different service consumers to meet business needs
  • Automation of management, monitoring and provisioning
  • Workload mobility and business continuity for critical business workloads through the interconnection of data centres
  • Backup design to facilitate the new environment

Benefits realisation:

  • Common configuration, rationalised set of technologies, and leveraging the cloud-style infrastructure services to achieve reductions in cost and increases in business agility
  • Cross-site data replication, support to hot-add CPU and memory, support for live migration, all designed to meet and exceed clients’s availability, RTO and RPO targets
  • Logical separation, providing security boundaries, allowing different maintenance schedules per application and minimising the impact of faults
  • Use of templates and automation