Friday, June 13, 2008

Shifting IT infrastructure to another data centre is never being such a simple mission, especially if your plan is to move multiple hardware, servers, desk arrays, robotics libraries, blade servers...etc. Which those all have to be moved in one phase and not divided in to multiple phases.
The worse if what you are intend to shift are part of production systems, that have to be up and running in the next day. Theoretically developing a plan some how maybe simple. However with some obstacles during the move will drive your plan into a nightmare if you stand in a level to be hard to overcome some situations. Especially once you sign commitments to achieve your goals on time as proposed.There are certain important steps to be seriously considered in order to achieve successful safe shifting.

Who suppose to be involved in that mission?
i. Business/Services owners.
ii. Hardware Engineers.
iii. Electricians.
iv. Network consultants/Administrators.
v. Insurance representative.
vi. Risk and security consultant.
vii. Public security – (Traffic division).
viii. Data centre manager.

Business/Services owners
Provide the appropriate downtime. Set up an outage, being in touch and the escalation point for any updates to management followed with end users. Best timing to carry out shutting down production systems based on agreed policies in which is the much safer and lower risk within the corporate functioning. It is mostly recommended to carry out shifting on:
Weekends, where the business somehow off work load.

Why Night time ?
i. Better secured healthy environment for the critical mission equipment shipping.

ii. Protect the equipment from direct sunlights. (In some regions the temperature heat eaches above 38c which is impact negative consequences to the valuable hardware).

iii. Very low traffic on road.

Hardware Engineers
It is the command centre, where the entire mission performed from A to Z till the all units landed/relocated safely at the proposed target. Dismantling parts, locking and sealing HDA’s, Disks by applying manufacture hardware shipping methods. Leading and coaching related teams which are participated in move from the source area.

Engineers may act as electricians around hardware. But in most cases electricians whom are maintaining building facility are being involved for disconnecting the power current from the distribution boards (DB’s) & maintaing UPS load balancing. They are also involved with voltage testing in the other data centre location. (Although. Testing might be already been done at the other end. But still power inspection and certification required prior next installation).

Network consultants/Administrator
The role of network teams to carry out connectivity issues from the first point at the existing data centre to the other area. They carry out maintaining cabling, routers, switches, hubs, physical servers links, with other components. In addition. The Software or firmware configuration that controls components within the infrastructure is part of their functions as well.

Verifying and certifying the network points and configurations are entirely defined and recorded in a dedicated data base tools for further references.

Insurance representative
Shifting hardware infrastructure is a project has to be defined as one of very costly step. Because lake of shifting process during the move will affect damaging eqipments. Not only financial issues side. But may lead to service delivery and negative impression to the corporate image toward its client/customers. Small mistake during the move may lead to nightmare as stated in the introductions of this process.
Insurance is a MUST for such plans if we want to foucs on business continuety schem. Once insurance take place, some times there would be a representative from the insurance company to inspect the equipment during the move and to be witness to record and report an incident once it happen. It happened sometimes packing contracts includes insurance over all the mission.

Risk and security consultant
Some companies having their own Risk and Security section, that deals with certain policies and take care of continuity process issues within the sector they work with.
The Risk consultants at this level review and analyze the plan before its being carried out on the given target date. Applys the rules based on the safety and security procedures.
He is also authorized to request for changing or modifications in the plans from the risk point view. Inspect the area from the first point up to the last target. Building, roads, people and power are mostly the part of inspections to ensure every thing being certified and away from hazardose issues. (He monitor people for well dressing saftey uniforms, helmets and boots ..etc.

He deals with insurance stuff and setup an agreements on price negotiations for example. In the other hand he is the one to escort Insurance reps. during the move.
(Some areas, companies or public sectors didnt require that depends on how much they evaluate how much cost effectivenes to their equipments).

Public security – (Traffic division)
In some cases there are heavy/big hardware equipment required big trucks and special mobile crane that supported with rotary movement. That needs a special arrangement to get in to the road through the sites. Traffic authorities usually involved in order to arrange and reserve or divert the residents nearby to other roads to accomplish full security move for both the equipment and drivers in the other hand.
They are also escorting the caravan that carries the equipment during the move across the road.

Data centre manager
Data centre manager aware of all the planned hardware shifting and the second member of movement plan of where hardware to be hosted and the location on his custody. He is the one who carry out check list to certify the integrity of all the shipped equipment after installations. He is the one who get in touch with every members involved with the move.
He deals with accomodating the equipment and provide points for each boxes. Arranging the raised floor cutting and infrastructure cables beneath the data centre.

Still thre are much facts might be added depends on the nature of the shifting plans and the environment. Also considering of systems from different areas and policies. That was part of personal experiance obtaind during my working practice.