Where can I find a checklist for moving a data center?

What's the list of things it's imperative to do (and to NOT do) when moving a data center? And what are those 1-3 things everyone knows they should remember but almost everyone forgets?

Answer

Kelly Fitzgerald (Sr. Implementation Specialist, Thomson Reuters)
We just recently did a Data center move and consolidation. Some bullet points.

- Get all your staff into a room and do a walk through of the move. This will take anywhere from 5-15 hours to provide a time-line of all activities during the process. This goes from the initial offline backups to the turning off of scripts and automated process, moving DNS, powering off enterprise servers (z/OS, AS/400, P-Series can take 2-6 hours) plugging in systems, the whole gambit it takes a lot of planning even for 10 servers let alone 250+.

- have all your cabling done and the end point and labeled and tested for specific connections, firewall rules and applications connectivity several weeks prior to the move. If you can move any systems early to do some testing, that is a huge bonus. We moved our ESXi servers and a few Windows Servers like sharepoint and our Exchange Edge servers.

- have spares of everything, a few extra servers and a few extra hard drives.

- we moved around 150 servers and an AS/400 and it took us about 11 hours. We moved another P series and our website (27 servers) at a later date and it took us 14 hours... its all about perspective, make sure you schedule dry runs, it saved us a a bunch of headaches before the move actually going through the time-line and mock move.

- hire an outside vendor that is bonded and insured to move your equipment, dont let your own IT staff move it, too much liability and danger there. Also make sure you have access to lift gates, freight elevators and fire lanes.

- have a DR plan if something doenst come up, have the numbers on hand to call IBM, DELL, HP, SAP ahead of time and ready incase your system doenst come up for Monday mornings business. Prepare the company for this very scenario shoudl it happen. WE actually had a stand by server through a hosting provider on call for a few key systems incase this happened along wiht a contingency plan to get them the backups to do the restore. (dont get a host that is 7 hours away, if your backups are over 2 GB)
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9 Additional Answers
Timothy Loftus (Skilled Leader & Managing IT Infrastructure Architect, Free Knowledge Network, LLC)
See 'Data Center Projects: Standardized Process' White Paper produced by APC. Link can be found at http://www.freeknowledgenetwork.com/project-management.html
I hope this helps. Good Luck!
Damir Lukic (Owner, Virtual People Ltd.)
Ah, yes, I remembered something.

It would be a nice thing to rent a storage system similar to the one you use at your datacenter, then replicate all the data between those two systems. Leave the rented one at location you are moving from, move your storage to your new location. Synchronize them and start moving servers.

This could be a good way for minimum downtime. Rented equipment needed for this purpose and then return it to vendor or partner.
Damir Lukic (Owner, Virtual People Ltd.)
Michael,

if in any way possible, try not to power down storage systems. Drives that are spinning for a long time tend to fail once they are stopped and started again. I've heard about this problem from one of customers (large banking institution) and it was a real problem during Y2K bug panic.

It is possible to rent a van or a truck with autonomous power source (a big UPS or a generator) that will power the storage system during movement. Your storage system has got redundant power supply and can be easily connected to the autonomous power source without need to power it down.

Hope this helps.
Steve Heusser (Operations Manager, SolutionPro Inc)
Michael,

Can you clarify for me if you mean you are moving an entire data center? Or are you moving just your equipment from DC to another?
Kevin Sweeney
I am going to assume (since nature abhors a vacuum) a wholesale DC move.
Power requirements - check the phase types you will need.
Cooling - have you decided upon how to cool the equipment once it is moved? This may require water lines.
Adequate lighting and space to walk around the racks.

Some other things to think about that are easily forgotten:
Are you in charge of phones? Faxes? Security systems?
Anything running in a back closet? Anything hard wired - not going thru the network?
This should get you started. Let me know if you need any help.
Michael Schmier (Product, Marketing, and Customer Experience Professional)
What about a proper back-up and archive checklist for all of your data sources?
Eveleene Ben (Project Manager, Aussie Man and Van)
If you are the one for whom going or transfer is lasting aspect of lifestyle then you will need to make a finish going guidelines. This before and after going guidelines will not just not waste time but reduce your pressure as well.
j p (Digital and Tech Expert)
Here is a good article on how another company did a stress free data center move:
http://www.microage.com/solutions/it-logistics-for-a-stress-free-data-center-move
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