Frequently Asked Questions
Many colocation facilities have security restrictions that do not allow employees of their competition into the facility. These types of restrictions limit the amount of assistance a colocation facility can provide. Some facilities will provide additional resources to assist you in the installation portion of your migration, but can provide little assistance on the de-installation or logistics portions of your project.
However, many facilities are outsourcing the entire migration portion of a project to an independent third party such as SilverBack Data Centers Solutions. This strategy allows each facility to follow their internal policies while providing their customers with the highest level of service available.
Using a major shipping company for part of your migration does have its advantages, however, they are limited to transit. Most major shipping companies do not specialize in the physical handling of sensitive equipment such as servers and networking equipment.
Special care must be taken when preparing data center equipment for shipment, and that should be trusted to individuals that are properly trained to handle that task.
Additionally, most standard shipping carriers do not include re-installation or cabling services that will help you get your migration completed and your environment back up and running in a timely manner.
Marc Kodama, a SilverBack customer said it best,
“Silverback Data Center Solutions provides us with a complete rack-to-rack solution that understands the nature of the data and hardware they are moving and plan accordingly. No magic tricks, no pulling rabbits out of hats; Silverback has always relied on careful planning and their extensive experience to assist us in avoiding potential issues. We’ve used them for two-mile moves and 500-mile moves and always been comforted to know that our servers were being taken care of as servers and not as office chairs.”
While inexpensive labor can be attractive from a financial cost perspective, the soft cost is often much higher. Contract labor introduces a series of unknowns into your data center environment as well as the migration process. These unknowns have the potential to create and/or extend downtime, adversely affect revenue and negatively impact the overall performance of your environment and staff.
The possibility for an untrained independent contractor to mishandle equipment or intellectual property could have long reaching ramifications. Contract laborers often do not carry the appropriate insurance to be handling your equipment, and many corporate policies will not cover damage or loss due to non-employee actions.
Using internal resources for physical migration tasks can have an adverse impact to your organization, including: reduced employee morale, increased opportunity/liability for personal injury, and lost revenue or productivity due to distraction from their regular job functions.
Additionally, using the inappropriate resources for different aspects of a data center migration can cause downstream issues as the project progresses. For example, if a network engineer is tasked with the physical installation (i.e., rack and cable) of the network equipment, they are removed and distracted from their core function of configuration, turn up and testing of the new environment. Even if they are later tasked with their core function, they are not rested and at peak performance when they are needed most.
Also, most corporate insurance programs cover physical assets only when they are physically located on your premises, not when they are in transit. Additional insurance is available, however it is often quite expensive. Using a third party to manage and execute the transit portion of a migration allows the use of their transit insurance, typically at a much lower rate.
SilverBack Data Center Solutions provides project pricing with a per-device cost to help our customers finalize budgets prior to a migration. Companies that use hourly-rate billing methods generally have larger final invoices due to more man hours required than originally quoted.
Data center migration projects are living, breathing entities that often provide exciting challenges during each phase of a project. SilverBack has mastered the beast and can effectively mitigate potential disasters quickly and efficiently, thereby reducing our customers’ down time without affecting their bottom line. This allows us to fix our pricing based on project specifics, not on estimated hours required.
Unfortunately, due to the diverse nature of data center migration projects, it is not possible to provide an exact project cost without some project specific information. If you would like a custom quote for your project, please feel free to contact us at 888.245.2344 or firstname.lastname@example.org!
The answer to this depends on the architecture of the environment. Environments designed with fully redundant components and services can be migrated in a phased approach with minimal or no downtime.
For environments without full redundancy, SilverBack Data Center Solutions works with our customers to develop the most effective plan based on customer environment architecture.
- A phased migration solution to compartmentalize services and minimize downtime in planned maintenance windows.
- Use of virtualization to logically shift critical services within the environment in order to free a portion of the hardware to be moved in a phased approach. Once the free hardware is up and running in the new environment, virtualized services are logically moved again to free the remaining hardware in the old location which is then physically migrated. This process can be repeated multiple times as needed.
- SilverBack specializes in rapid “forklift” moves of entire environments in cases where a maintenance window can be arranged. Even large environments can be fully migrated depending on transport distances in 24-72 hours.
Unless the rack was designed to be moved with equipment installed, you should NEVER move racks full. There are several reasons for this:
- Racks are not typically designed to be moved full.
- The stress that even a few hundred pounds of equipment can place on the rack welds/bolts can cause the rack to collapse with all of your gear in it.
- Rack mounting hardware is not designed to take vertical shock.
- By moving a rack full, you run the risk of shearing the mounting hardware and dropping your equipment out of the rack.
- Internal components (hard drives, CPUs, fans, etc.) are subject to greater risk of shock damage when rigidly mounted in a rack.
- Fully loaded racks are top heavy and provide a significant risk of personal injury to the personnel attempting to move it.
- Most insurance plans do not consider fully loaded racks as “properly packaged” and will not cover damage claims associated with this strategy.
For more advice on moving data center equipment, please contact our sales team at 888.245.2344 or email@example.com.
1 – Gather Requirements: Thorough requirements gathering is a critical component of any migration project and often left incomplete.
2 – Develop Plan: Data center migration projects require advanced planning and consideration of every aspect of the move process.
3 – Implement: With a carefully developed project plan, resources in place, and contingencies identified, we are ready to begin the migration.
4 – Validate: The final phase of the migration project verifies that all tasks have been completed, recovery or contingency procedures are documented, and communication is in place with all affected departments or groups.
Following the steps outlined in the Data Center Migration Checklist, each step in the process is critical to the success of the next step.
By conducting a full environment audit you will enable your organization to effectively document your current environment.
Designing your new environment before the migration allows you to untangle your current environment logically before you ever de-install a single device. Did your organic growth cause you to break rules regarding redundancy or machine placement? Does your current environment effectively utilize its allocated power? This is the appropriate time to adjust the things that have gone awry in your data center deployment.
Once your new environment is designed, the logistical planning can begin. Finding appropriate space, logistical planning, vendor selection, parts procurement, and similar tasks fall under the planning stage of a data center migration project.
Execution is the second most important step, just after planning. This is Game Day, make it count.
The following Data Center Migration Checklist helps get you headed in the right direction early on in the data center migration planning process. For a more granular guide, please contact our sales team for a data center project walk-through.
0. Call SilverBack Data Center Solutions – 888.245.2344 or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and our experienced staff will walk you through the step-by-step process and help you determine your best migration solution.
1. Identify why you are moving your data center – Surprisingly, over half of the project managers we work with have no concept of the business drivers behind the move. Knowing WHY you are moving makes the planning much easier, especially when faced with complex decisions.
2. Identify key internal resources – This includes representatives from all affected groups (internal IT, Operations, Customer Support, Engineering, QA, Executive Staff, impacted business units, etc). Having the right people in the right places is key to any project, and identifying WHO those people are at the beginning of the project makes crunch time much more bearable.
3. Identify what it is you are moving – Do you have a current (read: accurate) inventory of all of the physical and logical environments slated to move? If you don’t know WHAT you are moving, it is really hard to plan for everything. In addition to physical hardware, you need to be aware of applications, backup infrastructure, network circuits*, power and cooling requirements, as well as the associated items most people forget…like backup tapes!
3a. *Network circuits could be an entire article – Not only are there an almost unlimited number of options and variables, but they often have VERY long lead times depending on the type of circuit, and the location of your new data center. Luckily, in co-location facilities, most of the hard work is already done (there is very little need to dig up streets and such) but if you are moving into a private facility, you may end up watching TimeWarner dig up your newly paved parking lot so they can run fiber to your data center. This is a pretty important step, one that should be addressed very early on!!
4. Once you have items 0-3 completed, you are ready to identify WHERE you are going to move. This step can take several months to complete, between site visits and tours, quoting, negotiation, etc, this CAN be a very long step – or – it could not, if you already have the space or location secured, this is a no-brainer. Either way, it needs to be accounted for in the checklist along with a complete set of data center requirements to meet your company’s current needs and growth expectations.
5. After your space is secured, and you have timelines from your bandwidth providers and any other applicable vendors, you can start to identify WHEN the data center will actually move. There are a lot of dependencies, both internal and external that will affect this date. The 5 (plus “0”) steps above will help uncover many of those dependencies.
6. The easiest step in a data center move is the “HOW” part…you may wonder why I think the “HOW” is so easy for a project manager, COO, Director of Operations that has never done a data center move before…and the answer is simple…”Refer to Step #0″…
SilverBack Data Center Solutions is well versed in all 5 “W’s” and has perfected the “HOW” to move a data center, which is why we recommend you contact us BEFORE you start planning your data center move. Our expertise and insight into each of the steps above can shed light on some of the “gotchas” most people overlook during the planning stages that can wreak havoc on move day.
Contact our experienced Technical Sales Team today to schedule a no obligation review of your data center migration project and to discuss how SilverBack can help.
Here are the top 5 things to consider when planning a data center migration project. This is not an exhaustive list, just the top handful of things often overlooked during the planning process.
5. Shipping Method – This can vary based on time in transit, equipment required, and suspension type.
4. Packing Requirements – Does your equipment require use of OEM packing materials for warranty preservation? Packing materials and methods can vary based on distance traveled, time in transit, climate variations, static sensitivity, and shipping method.
3. Facility Access – Who has access to the old facility? Does the migration team need to be escorted? What are the loading dock hours?
2. Additional Outside Personnel – Do you need union labor to operate the freight elevator or dock levelers? Does the facility require additional security staff to maintain security during migration activities?
1. Data Center Audit Documentation – Do you have current documentation for your environment? Is the new environment an exact replica or a complete redesign? Who has copies of this documentation? How are in-flight changes being recorded and documented?
SilverBack Data Center Solutions can assist with all of these items (as well as the other million or so aspects of a well planned and executed data center migration!). Please sign up for a free, no obligation data center migration plan review or contact our customer support team for more information on how to plan and execute a flawless data center migration today!
How is SilverBack different from a standard shipping company?
SilverBack is a specialized data center migration company. Our migration staff are well versed in data center operations, best practices, rules & regulations, security requirements & policies, access restrictions, data handling, equipment handling, cabling standards, cable management practices, racking methodologies & standards.
SilverBack’s Project Management Team members are experienced and knowledgeable in technical logistics, insurance requirements, vendor management & coordination, transit & cargo restrictions, data center inventory & requirements gathering, as well as project scheduling & management.
This package of talent provides our customers with all of the tools necessary to complete a flawless data center migration, with minimal disruption in service, and resulting in a ‘picture perfect’ environment.