Data Center Decommissioning Checklist

Maxicom Network has years of know-how and an experienced team to help guide your IT staff in the decommissioning process. Once you have decided to tear down part or all of your data center, we work with your organization in following these seven steps to ensure your teardown goes seamlessly.


1 Initial Set Up

Start by drafting a scope of work to establish goals and expected project outcomes. Identify timelines and milestones. Specify the available budget and the internal stakeholders associated with the project.

2 Itemizing

Accounting for all hardware and software assets affected by the decommissioning is non-negotiable. Create an itemized asset list organized by the owner and operator of the data center. Compare results to pre-existing CMDBs (configuration management databases). Once certain all assets have been identified, assemble a comprehensive inventory of assets including hardware items such as servers, racks, networking gear, firewalls, routers, HVAC equipment, and so on. Compile all software licenses and virtualization hardware touched by the change and retain all software licenses associated with servers and networking equipment.

3 Project Planning

Create an implementation plan listing, responsibilities, and activities to be performed. When will you implement the decommissioning, and how long do you estimate it will take? Will the work coincide with peak hours? Do you need to issue warnings about the potential for service downtime? Create necessary workflows and backup systems to ensure there is not a critical loss of data. Put together a contact list of vendors you might need before, during, and after the work. Identify how you will data sanitize storage devices.

4 Create or Update Asset Inventory

List out the tools, material, and labor you will need to complete the job. Identify the right tool for the job: What kinds of hoist will best serve your needs for the data center in question? What type of packing foam is best suited for the different equipment you will be boxing? What about packaging considerations for equipment destined for reuse? Forecast the number of individuals and hours required to perform the work. Task your project manager with ensuring work is meeting milestones and workflow requirements.

5 Tearing Down and Wiping

Before the decommission, review the hardware asset plan and asset recovery checklist with stakeholders and onsite team leaders managing the decommission. On the day of the decommissioning, review checklist, verify data has been backed up, and that applications have been properly migrated before powering down and disconnecting equipment. Tag Cables, record serials, and tag all hardware assets.

6 Packing of Equipment

The teardown is complete, and packing can begin. Have you reserved a dedicated space for packing the assets? Use the appropriate packing materials for each item as specified in the plan. For items earmarked for reuse within the organization, follow the handoff protocol. For assets destined for refurbishing or recycling, pack, and label for the intended recipients. If you are working in colocation, what are the requirements for how the vacated space should be left? For on-premise, make sure you follow the stipulations laid out in the project plan for clearing and cleaning the teardown space.

7 Coordination and Recovery

Liaise with the IT and accounting teams to ensure disposed assets are recorded accordingly. For refurbished assets, coordinate with your ITAD provider to confirm a secure chain of custody and receipt of sanitization certificates for storage hardware. Ensure you receive itemized certificates of destruction for items earmarked for destruction and or deemed as not recoverable. What is the total value recovered and returned to your IT budget? Assess similarly for recycled hardware. Your ITAD provider will assist with each stage of the process to ensure you are maximizing the return from your retiring assets.