Saddle up, we're breaking camp! earlier this year that cry went out when we had to move our computer room, including about 25 servers, some routers and switches, tape drives, and various data communications lines.
As laborious as moving can be, we did have some factors in our favor. First, we were moving to another floor in the same building—and, thankfully, within the same elevator bank. Second, the new room, which we were to share with our parent company until its planned move, was already built.
The move went off without a hitch, due in part to these favorable conditions—and partly because previous moves, which left some scars, have taught us some lessons in logistics and planning.
The first step to a successful move is to notify key vendors and providers about the project so that they can be on alert in case of an emergency. If they won't be on site during the move, get home phone and beeper numbers for key people.
Next, lay out exactly where all your equipment will go. Make sure you have enough access space to do maintenance. You will run into a problem with cables that are too short, and there will be mis-sized and misplaced cutouts in floor tiles, so plan for it.
Furthermore, you may need to disassemble some equipment, such as connected racks, to get it through doorways. In fact, don't be surprised if you find yourself taking doors off hinges because you need an extra half-inch of clearance. And plan for the point of least clearance: Some of our tallest equipment was stopped in its tracks by ceiling-hung Exit signs in the hallways.
If height is not the problem, it's weight. UPSes are heavy. If yours aren't on wheels, warn the movers about them.
With all this rearranging going on, don't forget to label everything properly before you take it apart. Sticky notes don't count; spring for a label maker. There's more:
A successful move usually means your users are completely unaware of what has transpired, and that's good. This is one of those projects where the best recognition comes from your own sense of satisfaction. Although, after logging in without a hitch the Monday morning after our move, the CEO's secretary called with congratulations to tell me that at least one person recognized the effort.
Brian D. Jaffe is an IT director in New York. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.