Moving Equipment During a Monsoon
April 20th, 2007 By: Rich Miller
Here in the New York/New Jersey area we periodically endure a weather event known as a Nor’easter, essentially a pocket hurricane that sweeps up the coast packing wind and rain. Last Sunday was one of those days. The winds weren’t bad, but the rain was unprecedented. Colorful terms like “frogstrangler” or “gullywasher” just don’t do it justice. New York City had the second-highest one-day rainfall on record, with more than 8 inches. I was out driving during the storm, and the rain was easily worse than Hurricane Floyd (the previous benchmark for mad-crazy rain in NJ).
So what could be worse than driving in that kind of rain? How about moving web servers for a busy web site? Sunday was data center equipment moving day for the staff of Web77, the “industrial design supersite.” There’s a brief writeup on their blog (link via EcoIron):
Scheduled months ago, the move happened to land in the middle of the worst rain storm in years. Some might label it incautious, even reckless: rushing the still-beating heart of your enterprise across oncoming traffic and overflowing gutters – in the middle of a monsoon – on a cheap cart – with little but a plastic sheet and broken umbrella lending cover.
Folly or not, the IT staff appears to have accomplished its task without major incident. “No short circuits,” they report. Anyone else have colorful data center equipment moving anecdotes?
We moved a 1000+ server datacenter from one end of Seattle to another, over a two and a half month period. Over half the servers were colocated, so lots of pre-planning and communications were performed for months prior to the start of the move.
Once initiated the moves took place usually between the hours of 11 PM and 2 AM, every night. Many clients chose to move their own servers, but most had us perform the task. There was lots of 1-to-1 communication with clients, but we also posted notices on our support website almost daily with news of completed and pending equipment moves. We also provided data about the facility via this channel. The last servers being removed from the old facility did not mean the end of the work. We had another month of hard labor (thankfully most of which was performed during daylight hours) to decommision the previous facility.
I’m very proud of my staff, who all went above & beyond for those long nights. It was their hard work that lead to the best possible result: Our relocation to a fantastic new facility without losing a single client in the process.
The only major “anecdotal” hurdle was during a recent migration of a Software as a Service (SAAS) company to a new facility. Since the move was happening after hours, the loading zone hours had long since elapsed, and that curb space opened to general public parking. When we arrived, the loading zone was full of cars parked by partygoers from a bar across the street. I walked through the bar “shoulder taping” to find out who owned those cars, and offered to pay for parking in a lot around the corner so we could park our truck in the loading zone!
Forty five minutes and over $100.00 in parking and 3 rounds of drinks later (not for me…) we were able to park our truck in the now empty loading zone. Everything after that went smooth as silk, and ended in a very successful migration!
–Ken Jamaca, President – Silverback Migration Solutions
“No amount of planning can prevent disasters – only help to mitigate them!”