By John Kolkmeier, Director, Global Service Delivery, SSCS

Is this your first time project managing a server or storage device relocation? This blog is intended to help you understand the five most important items to consider in any data center hardware relocation.

1. Providing Advance Notice to All Direct Team Members & Affected Parties: Make sure that all key players are aware of your scheduled “move” not less than 30 days (ideally 60 days) in advance. Various parties will need to be prepared for production delays/downtime, cabling changes, power and cooling changes, etc. Your move will go without a hitch if you communicate well in advance, allowing internal and external teams to help you minimize the chance of any unpleasant surprises. This advance notice should include transparency into the primary elements of your plan: Who, what, when, why, where and how. Doing so will encourage others to offer better practice alternatives to anything you may not have considered.

2. Power Down Testing: Ideally, your pre-move planning will also include a full power-down of all systems being moved. Occasionally, devices and components that have not been powered off for some time will be problematic or fail completely on the subsequent power-up. It is generally greatly preferred to experience this, and solve the issues prior to the physical move. This pre-event measure is a proactive way of finding disk drives and other components that simply will not survive a shutdown.

3. Use a Team of Hardware Experts for any Relocations: There are hundreds of companies that offer server moves, but have no concept of power down protocols, nor will they accept any accountability for the post-move return to full operation. Even if your team is available to handle the de-installation and re-integration, you might consider the benefit if hiring dedicated experts that know the hardware, its sensitivity and will accept and embrace accountability. Not all who advertise as relocation providers have the on-staff expertise to respect your hardware as a “mission critical” business tool. Saving a few dollars will never be a viable defense for any damaged systems or catastrophic start-up failures.

Server Relocation or Storage Move4. Understand Risks of “Do It Yourself” Hardware Relocations: While this may sound comical to many, don’t let your team use pick-up trucks (such stories have been heard as recently as June 2017) and a lot of “muscle.” Any DIY plan must include important dialogue. Your team may have the power down/up expertise, but you must lead very open discussions that include: (a.) What will be done to prevent shifting during the move or hardware bouncing from hitting bumps. (b.) What will be done to protect those important business tools from weather or temperature changes. (c.) What will be used to physically move the hardware into and out of transport vehicles so no one on your team is physically hurt in the process. Workers Comp claims will definitely capture the unpleasant attention of senior management.

5. Make Certain Management Knows Your Plans and Rationale: Although this reads very similar to the first recommendation, we cannot enough emphasize “CYA” with company leaders/executives. In any equipment relocation, your reputation can go from hero to scapegoat in minutes. If your supervisor and his/her supervisor are fully aware of your plan, your logic and your timing, any burdens that arise are shared between you. You want them to “have your back” no matter how the project goes. They should also appreciate the logic you have about why you’re involving hardware professionals, as opposed to inexpensive widget movers.

If you’d like to have a thorough consultation about hardware relocations, we would be pleased to share additional “best practices.” You can contact us by completing an inquiry form, by clicking here.

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John “JK” Kolkmeier, Director, Global Service Delivery, SSCS

This year will be John’s 29th year with SSCS Global IT Services. A graduate of University of Houston, Clear Lake, most of John’s field service career has been with SSCS. Having several years of experience in direct field service and break/fix maintenance for multiple OEMs and platforms, John was promoted to Global Service Director eight years ago. All global field support and OEM subject matter expertise reports up to him.

In addition to his deep levels of interest in data center support best practices, John is an avid outdoorsman and conservationist, committed to non-profit groups dedicated to habitat protections and enhancement. He is also an avid fan of all sports, with a great appreciation for golf.

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