Moving house is one thing, but relocating a whole office is certainly far more difficult. The reason behind this is that IT equipment is quite hard to move and there are a lot of things that need to be taken into account beforehand.

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Generally, the IT team is responsible for planning and executing the server relocation process. Also, after the relocation is completed, it’s their job to test the servers.

In this article, we are going to discuss the topic of how to move a server from one location to another correctly. You can find everything from planning the move to helpful tips compressed into this small guide. But first…

Some of the major challenges when moving a server:

  • Office space;
  • Connectivity challenges;
  • Safety of transport;
  • Data backup strategy and execution;
  • The layout of the new IT department;
  • Implementing new technology;
  • Environmental suitability;
  • Space for other hardware equipment such as computers, printers etc.
  • Ventilation at the new address that meets the requirements of the server;
  • Contingency planning (a strategy for the time that a business can afford to stay offline with their servers not operating);
  • Communication with utility providers and emergency contacts;
  • Protecting critical business data;
  • Preparing for unexpected errors.

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How to Plan a Server Relocation

One of the most important factors in moving a server successfully is the way you plan the whole procedure.

Take into consideration the following recommendations:

  • Always move with a reliable moving company that will take full responsibility of the transported goods;
  • Establish a coordinated communication between the IT department and the moving company. Don’t risk having either of the sides misinformed about important aspects of the move.
  • Calculate the average time and effort required for the server relocation;
  • Ask the removals company for an accurate service quote;
  • Think about the cost of paying IT staff for overtime;
  • Ensure a proper cooling environment to meet the servers’ requirements;
  • Plan the wiring and cabling process carefully;
  • Find a suitable place for the rest of the IT hardware such as routers, scanner, power jacks, network cabling points etc.
  • Add additional protection to the server room by investing in a security system installation.
  • Set up call forwarding during the move as planned.
  • Will you use the same phone systems at the new address or you’ve planned changes? What type of phone systems best suit your business needs: KSU, PBX, VoIP of a hosted VoIP?
  • Check for any remaining warranties for the entire equipment and take measures if necessary.
  • Think of any installation errors that may occur at the new address.
  • See if there are servers for scrap and decide how to dispose of them effectively.
  • Double-check the insurance policy of the moving company and what it covers in case of damaging the server equipment. Do you have an internal insurance policy as well?
  • Prepare the area for server installation.
  • Make sure that you will have a stable internet connection at the relocation address.
  • Decide how you will proceed with power management. Will you have the full power resource that is required for the entire server hardware to stay online with 100% efficiency?
  • Set up VPNs & DNS.
  • Design a safety training procedure in case of emergencies. There should be multiple exits from the building.
  • Make sure everyone in the IT department is familiar with the usage of data centre lifts in case there is a need to install, remove or reposition the server hardware.
  • Inform everyone in the company of the upcoming server downtime and how it may affect their work.
  • Assign a project manager for the whole server relocation;
  • Verify back-up copies and all copies of virtual assets for the servers;
  • Figure out all of the required updates during the server migration;
  • Dispose of IT equipment that is not operating or is no longer needed for the new server installation.
  • Inspect the condition of all server lifts;
  • Thoroughly review the new server premises for any potential risks like moisture, leaks from the ceiling, and etc.;
  • Test the electrical installation at the new address well in advance. Having power issues on the day of the server relocation will slow down and postpone the whole process;
  • Upon disconnecting all server hardware at the old location, double-check the condition of all electronics before loading it on the server racks. Run the full list of tests to make sure quality assurance requirements are met.

How to Physically Move a Server

Now that you’ve completed this planning process, proceed with the actual transportation of the servers. Theoretically, following your plan would result in a problem-free server relocation but in reality, the scenario is a bit different.

There are plenty of things that can go wrong and you should be prepared before initiating the IT hardware relocation.

  1. Prepare for malfunctions


    Even perfectly secured and properly transported servers may refuse to operate after the relocation. After all, this is highly sensitive equipment that can get decalibrated during transportation.

  2. Recovery test


    Run recovery tests before the move as training for emergency situations. In case of data loss during the server relocation, you may have to complete recovery on the day of the move.

  3. Give your tech suppliers heads up


    Contact your suppliers, they should know that you are about to relocate your servers. This way they will have time to react if your equipment needs emergency repairs or you’re short of something at the new location.

  4. Finish Data migration


    Make sure that the data migration from the servers is fully completed, run all necessary tests.

  5. Follow Data protection protocol


    Carefully prepare for the execution of the data protection protocol in your company.

  6. Pack your servers

    Pack each server station in and label it accordingly. It’s also a good idea to add numerical labels with the exact order in which each station was packed. You can later unpack in reverse order for maximum efficiency.

  7. Cable management


    Label all cables and electronics for faster unpacking and installation at the new address.

  8. Make sure the hardware is well secured in transport


    Keeping all hardware completely stable during the relocation will minimize chances for errors.

  9. Relocate Data storage


    Transport physical data storage hardware in a vehicle different than the moving vans for additional security.

How to Move a Server Rack

When planning to move your entire server racks, take into consideration the fact that most models are supported by small legs instead of casters. This is not an issue if the whole weight constantly lies on all four legs. However, if you have to tilt the entire rack, you risk damaging the server. This makes almost all types of server racks unsuitable for transportation and relocation.

Modern server racks have better mobility properties but are often hard to relocate, too. Also, having multiple static objects in a server room hinders the process of moving a server rack from one place to another. Transportation of loaded server racks is the main reason behind damaged hardware and data loss.

One of the most comprehensive ways to install new server equipment after the relocation is to set up new racks.

Takeaways

  • Make sure to plan out the whole moving process as thoroughly as possible. This way you’ll spare yourself a lot of unexpected (and probably unpleasant) scenarios.
  • Don’t try to move loaded server racks. You risk losing all of your data.
  • If you want to minimise potential chances for damage, hire a team of professional removalists to relocate the server for you.
  • We hope our article on how to move a server from one location to another informative and helpful. Feel free to share all your thoughts and moving experiences in the comment section below.

Have no time for relocation? Take advantage of our commercial removals service.

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Image source: depositphotos / dlpm

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Do you have any interesting ideas on how relocating server equipment can happen easier and faster? We would like to hear them in the comment section below.

  • Last update: January 15, 2020

Posted in Moving and Packing Tips, Office Moving Advice

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