Data Centre Professionals Ltd

Case study – Moving a live cluster to a new data centre

The Challenge

To move a 7-rack installation to another site in the shortest time possible.

Distance: 20 miles
Customer SLA: 5 days
Cabling: Fibre Channel uplinks terminating in two DWDM, Copper interack
Switches: 40 servers per switch

Configuration and Testing:
Fibrescope: Fibre cable testing
Copper test: …..
Switches: Remotely configured by service desk based in India
Servers: Statically assigned IP addresses

Moving a system which is in active use is always difficult. This is because the usual technical and logistical issues are complicated by the need to minimise disruption and meet a firm deadline.

In this case, the chassis were in active use, so we had to reduce the downtime as far as possible.  The client had 7 cabinets full of servers, switches, uplinks that needed to be moved to a new data centre 20 miles away.  Once the cutover of the main uplink was complete, the chassis and their contents had to be decommissioned, securely packaged and transported.  The equipment then had to be reassembled at the new site.

The whole process had to be completed in just 4 days.

The Solution

In order to meet this deadline, Data Centre Professionals had to change the way we normally carry out a migration.  This meant extensive planning was required to drastically reduce the time normally spent disassembling and redeploying chassis and to maximise time available for switch configuration and testing.

With extensive planning we were able to identify several tasks that could be completed before the physical move began, including:

  • Adding PDUs to each cabinet and working with our client’s local team to agree when and how they would be powered up.
  • Sourced spare switches and installed them in the cabinets.
  • Laid down all the necessary cross connections and uplinks.
  • Enabled access for the remote system administrators to configure all of the new network devices.
  • Performed pre-cabling for the network at the new site.

This early planning helped save a tremendous amount of time and removed the pressure from the technical team who dealt with the configuration.

Physically moving the equipment was not straightforward.  The new data centre did not have a loading bay big enough to accept and store that much equipment so the shipments had to be divided.  All of the machines were labelled to indicate their position in the new data centre.  We then developed a schedule outlining which systems would be shipped each day during the transition.

At go-live, one of our technicians was on site with the ISP to oversee the final cutover.  Once complete, the remote team was able to test connectivity had been fully restored for the new site.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team was waiting at the old site for confirmation that the connection test was successful.  They immediately began decommissioning according to the schedule agreed with the client.  Servers were removed from the racks and loaded into special flight cases to protect them in transit.  The first shipment to the new data centre began.  It had been thoughtfully scheduled to avoid rush hour on the surrounding roads.

The Outcome

Thanks to extensive planning, the team were able to proceed faster than expected.  By extending the working day by a few hours on days 2 and 3, the DACPros team were able to complete two shipments on the second day.  By increasing shipments, we were able to complete the entire migration project a full day before the deadline.  All of the servers were tested and confirmed to be fully online.

Effective planning and preparatory work allowed the DACPros team to successfully complete one of the largest time-critical migration project we have ever undertaken.  By having our project manager onsite we can identify possible logistical and technical problems and prepare for them in advance – unlike services that rely completely on managing projects remotely. The DACPros approach also allows us to better manage the unforeseen issues causes that cause big delays in many projects.

To learn more about data centre migration services, and how the DACPros team can help you meet your deadlines, please give us a call.

DACPROS specialises in IT data centre services, we have experienced staff located across the UK with London being our hub of operations. Our services cover the full life-cycle of your equipment, from the initial deployment to end-of-life decommissioning and recycling.