checklist for moving datacenter

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Hello. Our company have a plan to move datacenter in a month and my boss ordered me to make out the plan for it. But I don't know how to do it, especially I have no idea about what I should check for moving datacenter. Help me! How can I get the process, checklist.... for moving datacenter?

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In a MONTH? This is going to be tough! Ideally, this planning should have started 6-12 months ago. However, here are some things that might help.

Is the new data center complete? Do you have any details on its design? Or have you been given a street address and a large room?

Do a Google search for “Move Data Center Checklist” without the quotes – there are a number of good links that pop up.

The first things that come to my mind are:

- All network infrastructure in place and tested prior to any moves. If you can’t because it will use the same equipment already in service, then you’ll have to cable the new place with cardboard boxes mocked up where each piece of equipment goes.

- All air conditioning, backup electrical power, power conditioning, fire suppression and other “facilities” type stuff in place and working.

- All racks and other furnishings in place. Don’t try to save money by moving everything at once, it will be a disaster. As mentioned above, mock up ALL equipment, with all cables in place.

- If you can’t get everything in place, then get as much of the “facilities” and “furnishings” in place, and tell your boss that there is going to be significant downtime due to failure to plan and budget in advance.

- Is there any chance of temporary connectivity between the new and old data centers – you didn’t say how far apart they are geographically. It might be possible to set up laser links, string cable or fiber depending on the distance. With 1 month to go, you can forget anything involving the telephone company. If the new site has Internet connectivity, set up an office-to-office VPN tunnel to ease the transition.

If you can get the connection described above, then you can “stage” the move by grouping related equipment and moving it together to minimize overall down time.

Also plan on working nights and weekends.

This is a lovely topic, but I’m short on time right now myself.

Good luck,

Bob

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  • Howard2nd
    1st get a written and signed statement with proposed dates and allowable downtime. If there is no allowable downtime then start ordering equipment because you are duplicating the data center not moving it. 2nd after negotiating the downtime, figure how many people and trucks they will allow to do the physical move the day before you are due back up. The less money for moving the longer it takes and back to step 1. 3rd is the new location physically ready for you to move (i.e. clean and empty and securable)? If it is ready physically, how about power, cooling, network access, parking for your workers, bathrooms? You can make a list of the things requireed to operate the data center by looking at what you have now. What things would cause you to throw rocks at your boss if they are not there? What things would get you fired if the data center does not start back up on time. And by the way - 30 days to plan a move for the heart of a business is way too short. Good luck, you are going to need it. I don't mean to make light of your dilema, but there is no information about the size of your operation, no information about the distance to be moved, no information about the size of your staff, no information about the cause of the move. No generic checklist is possible. Even a carefully planned checklist can fail if assumptions are made about what people outside your control can or will do. Example - If the new space isn't ready 72 hours before you move the first item, you cannot test outlets or connections. a definite recipe for failure.
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  • DrillO
    Bob and Howard are absolutely correct......I feel very sorry for you. Is your boss a tech type?....I am guessing not, or that he is and just moving the poop downhill.... You will have a very tough time of this one. You didn't mention budget for the move. I hope there is some money set aside for this or you wil have a bigger problem. I would be interested to know how far you are moving and some of the other details that Bob and Howard mentioned. I'm sure we would be more than willing to help and with more info it will be easier for us. I would almost suggest going to the boss or someone, and asking for a delay. This is going to be very difficult even for a small data center. I wish I could be more help at this point, but the others have said all that can be said until we know more. Best of luck to you.... Paul
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  • Jbbeck
    How big is the Data Center? How many cabinets? How many servers? A month seems to be a short time, unless the Data Center is very small.
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  • Coggrinda
    Hi, You didn't say how big the data centre is (I have to assume it isn't very big)...and your question implies that you haven't done this before....which makes it quite a bit harder. The other replies already have some good advice. Here's some things you might like to try: In the current environment: 1. Take an inventory of everything. List all the components for each item, including serial numbers for anything like a CPU or storage device. 2. Label every cable on the back of each CPU. 3. Get a digital camera, and photograph each item, especially so that you can see which cable is connected to which device. Make sure you can relate the photo to the inventory (use labels, and make sure they are visible in the pix) 4. Take a backup of everything in the current environment. 5. See if you can restore it (component by component). You'll need some spare kit for this. Don't use the production boxes... Planning: 6. Comms services take time. Often more than a month. You might not have external comms in the new data centre for a while. 7. Removalists need to be scheduled. Transport insurance also can take time. 8. If you have to fit out (e.g. cable, conditioned power, air con etc) the new data centre, I think you're up against it. These things take time. This obviously isn't a high availability environment, so a lot of more complicated concepts don't apply. Actually, some basic concepts like your boss giving you a reasonable lead time don't apply either...(sorry) If this is post hurricane activity, some of these things don't apply...if this is the normal way this company operates, you might need to look at alternatives...it seems like the traditional "disaster planning" scenario - and "recovery" is deliberately missing from the phrase. Actually, search on "Katrina" as well as the other search. There are a few good stories on the net about how some businesses coped in that crisis, including practical tips for re-establishing data centre operations. Good luck...
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  • BlueKnight
    The points made by bobkberg and Howard2nd are right on the money. I think you're up against a real challenge, but as Jbbeck said, if your shop is small, you just might be able to pull it off... but that will depend entirely on how much infrastructure is currently in place at the new location. A few more details on the size of the data center and distance of the move would have been more helpful. I've built up plenty of data centers over the years (but never had to move one) so I can verify that if the infrastructure (comm lines, PDU, UPS, environmentals, etc.)is not in place at the new location, I don't see it happening in 30 days. One thing that I am wondering about, is that if your data center is a small one, and you can schedule outages for select groups of equipment, maybe a phased move might be feasible. That of course presumes again that all infrastructure is in place and has been tested at the new location. You might then be able to move one group of servers on Monday say, get them installed at the new location and fully operational by Tuesday night, then tackle the next group on Wednesday. Again, I've never moved a data center, so this may not really be feasible. I'd like to hear comments from the others on this as a possible approach. I'm probably all wet on this, but it's a thought. Howard2nd's point about duplicating the data center may be the fastest way to accomplish the "move," but it won't be cheap... but management didn't give you many options with such a short time line. Like bobkberg said, planning for this should have started months ago. Good luck, and let us know how it goes. Jim
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  • Pedwards17
    I envy you and have sympathy for you at the same time. I went through this 2 years ago, but we had much more time to prepare than you have. As has been mentioned, you want to be sure that all of your power and cooling requirements are addressed. Make sure you have single phase and 3-phase power where needed and allow for expansion. Depending on the brand of your hardware, your vendor may be able to help out with this. We use HP Proliant servers, and there was a fair amount of data out there on this type of planning. Be sure that you have racks in place before you start moving servers. Again, this has been mentioned, but you don't want to be doing the whole thing in one move. Be sure that you have adequate power in the racks themselves, and, again, allow for expansion. New servers are much more dense, so you want to be sure that you have enough UPS's or PDU's in place for each rack. There are other things to be aware of, but most of those have been addressed. I envy your being able to do this because you can start fresh, applying what you've seen in your existing data center and improving the layout in your new one. I'm not going to kid you--you've got a logistical nightmare on your hands, but spend the overtime now planning it and your life will be much better later.
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  • Mltlives
    Drillo hit it right on the head, 30 days is way to short even for a server room move. The downtime consdiderations and facility issues are just the high-level challenges. Need a Project Manager? I have done this several times for various orgs. and reasons. I am curious how your management just realized they needed to do this. I doubt tat this is the case though. Good luck my freind...
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  • Djlsky
    First of all good luck. Moving a datacenter is a huge process and usually takes at least 3 months for planning, configuration of the new site, and the actual move. Since you know nothing about it start with this link Http://www.sun.com/products-n-solutions/hardware/docs/html/816-1613-14/ it can be generalized to most any "server" type datacenter. If you have mainframes (3090x type machines) you should be able to get installation/facility info from your vendor (Hatachi, IBM, etc). Two key things to remember are 1. the moving company should use special trucks that have adiquate vibration dampening (there are several companies that specialize in this or have a service oriented to computer moving, google it); 2. make sure your new data center is finished before the move, you can't "build" and "Run" at the same time. When starting something as complicated and mission critical as a data center move I Google the subject from as many points of view as possible. I saw one book at http://www.rothstein.com/data/dr282a.htm that you may want to get asap. djl
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  • Djlsky
    First of all good luck. Moving a datacenter is a huge process and usually takes at least 3 months for planning, configuration of the new site, and the actual move. Since you know nothing about it start with this link Http://www.sun.com/products-n-solutions/hardware/docs/html/816-1613-14/ it can be generalized to most any "server" type datacenter. If you have mainframes (3090x type machines) you should be able to get installation/facility info from your vendor (Hatachi, IBM, etc). Two key things to remember are 1. the moving company should use special trucks that have adiquate vibration dampening (there are several companies that specialize in this or have a service oriented to computer moving, google it); 2. make sure your new data center is finished before the move, you can't "build" and "Run" at the same time. When starting something as complicated and mission critical as a data center move I Google the subject from as many points of view as possible. I saw one book at http://www.rothstein.com/data/dr282a.htm that you may want to get asap. djl
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  • Chosang1
    thanks for your help I meant that 'In a month' is for planning moving data center. I'm sorry for your misunderstanding.... We have more time in moving physically. the moving date is flexible. Our company's scale of datacenter is small(about 15 servers) and we are going to move to the building of outsourcing data center company. so we don't need to prepare the utility but only checklist for verifying. The distance between old and new is about 50km. Thanks for your reply again
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  • Bobkberg
    Chosang1 - thanks very much for your reply and clarification. We (as a group) get too many questions where there IS no clarification. Given the circumstances you describe, I'd recommend (as have others before me) that you go over (physically) each and every system that will move - and verify each of them with your managers. Not criticizing, but being thorough so that there is no mis-understanding between what they expect and what you expect to accomplish. While this can be tedious for all parties, it is much better to be clear than to risk the wrath of "the unknown". Because - speaking from experience - it is those things which are assumed by each side, without being spoken of, that cause the greatest difficulties. Bob
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  • Pedwards17
    Hi, me again. One precaution we took during our data center move is that we had a fairly comprehensive spare parts inventory. In moving servers, you may encounter hardware problems that aren't obvious. I would recommend that you one power supply for each different one used by your servers; have spare memory and hard drives available (one of each type used by your servers should suffice). These are the parts that are likely to fail during a move, so you may be able to avert trouble by having them on-hand.
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  • THOMSNYDER
    Chosang1: I won't reiterate every other point that has been made to this juncture, but I will add that you should ensure day 0/1 support services from your vendors. Day 0 is considered breakdown - Day 1 is considered deployment and live date. Depending upon your class of servers, most vendors require 30 days advance notice. This is true for trucking services as well. As a project manager, you should address the risks associated with this move. All projects have them. Identify your risks, prioritize them and then "mitigate" them. Make sure all teams are well versed on the mitigation plan - so that in the case of any failure, you have an "acceptable" plan to which to fall back on. Get sponsor buy-in on those risks and plans. Make sure application support is available (whether inhouse or outside). Some apps don't like to move quietly. Most of all - address how this move affects your customer! Do they VPN to any mainframes, web services, etc? Will they require different connectivity points? Build out test scripts from each business group to allow them to ensure their groups business remains intact after the move. Apps, Server, Network, Client, Support, etc. These will in fact become your acceptance criteria as a signoff on the deliverables. That's all I have for now. - TS
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