I recently was interviewed by Francis Rose of WFED radio in Washington D.C.\u00a0 His show, \u201cIn Depth with Francis Rose,\u201d focuses on topics of interest to federal IT leaders and professionals. (You can listen to the interview online.)Now, Francis is not a technology guy so I was curious as to why he was interested in dedicating 20 minutes of his show to data center relocation.\u00a0 Why did he think that was newsworthy?\u00a0 Of course, folks in the know understand that aging facilities are forcing companies to consolidate and relocate data centers all over the country. But why did Francis care, and what did it have to do with the government?I quickly saw where he was heading.\u00a0 Francis had read an article I wrote about the five pitfalls of data center relocationand how the State of Oregon managed (disastrously) to fall into every one.\u00a0 Francis wanted me to expand on how IT managers could avoid repeating Oregon\u2019s mistakes.\u00a0 You can read about all five pitfalls in the article, but I wanted to focus on one in particular because it\u2019s a seductive trap that\u2019s snaring a lot of organizations: thinking about the move as an opportunity to introduce new technologies (particularly virtualization) and methodologies.\u00a0 As I told Francis, we strongly advise against introducing any new moving parts during data center relocations.\u00a0 Doing is so like performing open heart surgery while throwing in a hip replacement on the side. It can be done, but it\u2019s an enormous risk\u2014and one not worth taking. Francis agreed; it seemed like a no-brainer to him.\u00a0 So why do so many companies do it?\u00a0 They usually do so for two basic reasons:1.\u00a0Pent-up demand. When everything in the IT function (including the data center) is working smoothly, there aren\u2019t a lot of CIOs willing to introduce infrastructure changes (or CFOs willing to fund them) unless the ROI is overwhelming. Especially in this economy, the guiding principle seems to be, if it ain\u2019t broke, don\u2019t fix it.\u00a0 Therefore, projects (including virtualization) tend to be pushed off even when they make business sense. Over time, this creates a project backlog\u2014an itch that IT organizations want to scratch.In the excitement of a data center relocation, the organization discovers a new enthusiasm for IT improvement and innovation. With all its resources allocated to the relocation, the organization convinces itself that the staff, energy, and budget is available to do anything and everything. In other words, it gets to scratch that backlog itch. Instead of \u201cIf it ain\u2019t broke, don\u2019t fix it,\u201d the order of the day becomes, \u201cLet\u2019s take advantage of this focus on IT to fix everything!\u201d\u00a0 If you find yourself in a similar place, and the pressure to virtualize is mounting, at least make sure you have the time, money, staff, and expertise to do it right. If you\u2019re not absolutely convinced, my advice is to finish the relocation first, satisfy yourself that your new data center is functioning optimally, and then think about virtualization.2.\u00a0Vendor hype.\u00a0 Let\u2019s face it, most vendors know the best time to sell you anything new is when it aligns with changes that are already taking place. That\u2019s the easiest and best time to capture your attention, not to mention your budget.\u00a0 Vendors specialize in taking advantage of any fears and uncertainties you may have to tell you that they have the tools and expertise to make them all go away.\u00a0 So if your virtualization software provider says virtualizing during a relocation is a good idea, and your hardware vendor says it\u2019s a good idea, and the press and the analysts agree (as they often do as they spend a lot of time with and get a lot of their information from those same vendors), then it must be a good idea, right?\u00a0 Well, not exactly. Performing two complex IT operations at the same time is almost always a recipe for disaster.If you\u2019re ready to make a move to a virtualized environment, you need to accept that fact that no matter what your vendors say, you will be beginning a complex, resource-intensive project. It\u2019s important to be sure that all your systems will be able to support appropriate service levels throughout the transition. Unless those service levels can be maintained to the business\u2019 satisfaction, it doesn\u2019t matter how smoothly the virtualization initiative goes. And if you\u2019re also scheduled to relocate your data center at the same time, please, stop and reflect upon the risk you\u2019ll be assuming by attempting to pull off two complex projects at the same time, essentially under a stop watch held by a watchful business. Me, I wouldn\u2019t want to do it.\u00a0As always, thank you for sending comments, tips and topic suggestions to me at CIOblog@TransitionalData.com._________________________________Michael Bullock is the founder and CEO of Transitional Data Services (TDS), a consulting firm helping clients implement energy saving green data center solutions, data center relocations, web based enterprise applications and 24\/7 technical operations.