Data center decommissioning is the process of shutting down and removing a data center facility from active use. The decommissioning of a data center typically occurs when the facility is not needed anymore due to various reasons like technology upgrades, relocation, consolidation, or closure of business operations. It is a complex and carefully planned process that aims to ensure the secure and efficient disposal of assets while minimizing potential risks and environmental impacts. It is essential to follow best practices during decommissioning to ensure the safe and secure handling of data, equipment, and environmental considerations. Some data center decommissioning best practices.

Planning and Documentation

Create a detailed decommissioning plan: Define the decommissioning project scope, timeline, and resources required. Identify likely risks and develop strategies to counter them.

Document the inventory: According to Tech Republic, you must compile a comprehensive inventory of all assets, including servers, networking equipment, storage devices, cables, racks, and other components in the data center.

Identify data and applications: Determine the data and applications hosted in the data center. Categorize them based on sensitivity and criticality to prioritize their migration or disposal.

Data Backup and Migration

Backup data: Ensure that all data is adequately backed up before decommissioning any systems. Verify the integrity and completeness of backups to avoid data loss.

Migrate data and applications: Plan the migration of data and applications to new infrastructure or cloud services. Follow proper migration procedures, including testing, to ensure a smooth transition.

Asset Disposal and Equipment Removal

Asset disposal: Evaluate the condition of equipment and determine whether it can be repurposed, resold, recycled, or donated. Consider any legal or compliance requirements regarding the disposal of data-bearing devices, advises

Secure data destruction: Implement secure data destruction to prevent potential data breaches. Use methods such as data wiping, degaussing, or physical destruction to ensure nobody can recover the data.

Environmentally friendly practices: Dispose of equipment and hazardous materials in an environmentally responsible manner. Comply with local regulations for electronic waste disposal and recycling.

Physical Infrastructure Removal

Disconnect power and utilities: Safely disconnect power, cooling, and other utility connections. Follow proper procedures to avoid accidents or damage to the infrastructure or personnel.

Cable and rack removal: Remove all cabling, racks, and accessories. Properly label and organize cables to facilitate future use or disposal.

Building restoration: Restore the building to its original condition, as per the rental agreement, if the data center existed in a rented or leased facility.

Documentation and Reporting

Document the decommissioning process: Maintain detailed records of each step in the decommissioning process. The documentation helps track progress, comply with regulations, and provide an audit trail.

Asset disposal certificates: Obtain certificates or documentation from recycling or disposal vendors to confirm the secure and responsible disposal of assets.

Security and Compliance

Information security: Maintain strict security protocols throughout the decommissioning process. Restrict access to authorized personnel only and ensure all sensitive data is protected.

Compliance with regulations: Adhere to relevant industry regulations and legal requirements. It may include data protection laws, environmental regulations, and industry-specific compliance standards.


Organizations can achieve several benefits, including efficiency, security, environmental compliance, revenue, and improved reputation by following best practices in data center decommissioning.