Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been working on moving our data center at work. This was quite the project in planning (with moving deadlines and contingencies) but, in the end, the planning paid off – this project was very smooth.
In a lot of ways, this move reminded me a lot of the Green Data Center move from a few years back. Specifically, we shut down all of our software and hardware, then shrink-wrap and move all of the hardware. During the Green Data Center move, we didn’t have to move stuff very far (it was all within the same data center), nor unrack and rerack everything, but the process for preparing the shutdown is very similar. The result of the careful planning was also very similar. In particular, in both cases, our hardware came up without any glitches, and are software came up quite well. There were, of course, some networking gotchas, but these were resolved fairly quickly, and without significant operational impact. I usually contrast this to the contingency shutdown a few months later due to flooding – because it was unplanned, there were a lot of things that didn’t come down just quite right, which caused issues when we came back up.
I attribute this success primarily to the planning and coordination within and between the technical services teams (including the Raytheon contractors for our ECS system – they’re certainly folks I consider part of the team!) The University Office of Information Technology, our System Administration teams, Database Administrators, Network Security guy, and Operations all had to coordinate how to shut everything down and bring it back up to provide the least amount of disruption and try to predict how things would come up the most smoothly. That is a lot of different people who need to know their jobs well enough (and how they intersect with other people’s work) to do efficient hand-offs and work through their part quickly.
I’m not one to take a lot of pictures, but, luckily, one of my coworkers managed to snap a few shots of our racks for those who like some data center porn:
At the end of the day, it looked good!