A Look Inside a Major Data Center Relocation Project
As the demand for IT services continues to increase, many organizations are finding it necessary to relocate their data centers. They may have outgrown the physical space allotted for IT equipment, or wish to take advantage of the advanced services and security of a colocation facility.
For hospitals, data center relocation may be driven by pragmatic business needs. Seeking to dedicate as much space as possible to patient care, a growing number of hospitals are looking to move their IT infrastructure offsite. Colocation facilities provide a cost- and space-efficient alternative to an on-premises data center.
That’s why a major regional trauma center in the Rocky Mountain region made the strategic decision to relocate its data center infrastructure. The hospital had been undergoing a multiyear expansion and determined that it made good business sense to utilize a colocation facility instead of maintaining equipment onsite.
Moving any data center is difficult, but hospitals face significant challenges due to their 24x7 IT requirements. The data center in a large hospital may include hundreds of pieces of equipment supporting electronic medical records (EMR) and other mission-critical applications.
Careful Attention to Detail
Coordinating the move of servers, storage systems and networking gear requires significant upfront planning and strategic precision. Project teams typically begin months in advance with an assessment of the data center facility and the development of the baseline project scope.
The team will then need to inventory existing equipment and create rack diagrams and port maps. A thorough understanding of critical dependencies is required to minimize risk. With a large data center, the plan may need to be executed in phases over several weeks.
The physical move involves shutting down the equipment, unplugging data cables and power cords, and removing the gear from racks and cabinets. Steps must be taken to protect the equipment, people and the facility during the move process. With a hospital, the equipment had to be tracked via GPS and moved in secure vehicles with a security escort to meet HIPAA requirements.
Once the equipment arrives at the new location, the process is reversed — the project team removes the gear from the crates, organizes it and re-racks it. The equipment is then turned on to ensure that everything works.
How SirviS Can Help
Although it may sound straightforward, a data center move requires a lot of manpower and significant expertise. In-house IT teams often lack the resources to handle a relocation project while keeping up with day-to-day tasks.
It typically makes sense to outsource the project to an IT provider with a proven track record of success moving data center facilities. The right partner will have deep expertise in data infrastructure, significant project planning experience and dedicated “smart hands” to assist with the physical aspects of the move.
Not all IT providers have these capabilities. The Rocky Mountain trauma center had a longstanding relationship with a value-added reseller (VAR) that was unable to execute the move. The VAR turned to SirviS for assistance.
SirviS provided turnkey, “white glove” services that were precisely tailored to the hospital’s needs. Experienced project managers and technical staff followed well-documented methodologies from initial planning through decommissioning and recommissioning of the equipment.
Moving to a new data center provides an opportunity to increase capacity, take advantage of more secure and reliable colocation facilities, and free up valuable real estate for core business activities. However, a data center relocation project is a major undertaking. Partnering with a qualified IT provider such as SirviS can save headaches and ensure a successful outcome.