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 whole moving 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.
  • Environment suitability.
  • Consider spa.ce for other hardware equipment such as computers, printers etc.
  • Space for other hardware equipment such as computers, printers etc.
  • Ventilation at the new address that meets the requirements of the server installation.
  • 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 out the Server Relocation Procedure

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

Take into consideration the followoing recommendations we’ve listed below:

  • 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 relocation. Calculate the average time and effort required for the service relocation.
  • Determine the total cost of renting the new facility. Don’t forget about the expenses for renovations.
  • See if you’ll need more staff or if you can handle the workload without hiring new people.
  • Ask the removals company for an accurate service quote.
  • Think about the cost of paying staff for overtime.
  • Don’t forget contingency plan costs (if there’s a long period of time when servers will be offline).
  • See how much resources you may have to spend on repairing amortised hardware.
  • Ensure a proper cooling environment to meet the servers’ requirements.
  • Plan the wiring and cabling process carefully.
  • Schedule a complete inventory check of all the hardware and virtual systems. Check for things such as condition, physical parameters, serial numbers etc.
  • 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.
  • Plan the entire cabling installation.
  • 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. Exits in the new building should be accessible in multiple ways.
  • 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 mention all of the details about how it may affect their work.
  • Assign a project manager for the whole server relocation and ask them to consistently report the work progress.
  • 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 service lifts, check for any malfunctions and get rid of compromised 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.

Moving Servers to New Location Checklist – How to Physically Move a Server

When done with the project planning, proceed with the actual transportation of the severs. Theoretically, following your plan would result in a problem-free server relocation but in practice, the scenario is a bit different.

Now that you’ve completed this planning process, proceed with the actual transportation of the severs. 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.

Take into consideration the following things on the day of the move:

  • Even perfectly secured and properly transported servers may refuse to operate after the relocation. After all, this is sensitive equipment that gets decalibrated even from generic things such as transportation inside a vehicle.
  • Keeping all hardware completely stable during the relocation will minimize any chances for errors.
  • Prepare to contact suppliers in case an emergency situation occurs. The vendors you work with should be notified in advance that you are about to relocate your services. This way they will have time to react if your equipment needs emergency repairs or you’re short of something at the new location.
  • Pack each server station in a unique moving box 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.
  • Make sure that the data migration from the servers is fully completed, run all necessary tests.
  • Calculate how many and what type of power outlets you’re currently using. Ensure at least the same amount at the relocation address, so there will be enough power to run the whole equipment from day 1.
  • Keep communication lines constantly running.
  • Pinpoint the perfect location for the server racks at the new premises, don’t forget you will need proper power outlets, ventilation, and protection from leaks and moisture.
  • 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?
  • Carefully prepare for the execution of the data protection protocol in your company.
  • Transport physical data storage hardware in a vehicle different than the moving vans for additional security.
  • 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.
  • Label all cables and electronics for faster unpacking and installation at the new address.
  • Remind all staff how to properly shut down the hardware on their personal desks. This will speed up disconnection and will minimise the chances of further complications with personal equipment.
  • Make a quick-dial procedure for anyone who is taking part in the server relocation process: colleagues, moving company staff, managers, utility providers, etc.
  • Run tests of all networks at the relocation address before transporting the servers there. If errors occur, make sure they get cleared before the hardware gets transported to the new facility.

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.

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

We recommend paying attention to the following things:

  • Make a precise server configuration in advance. Make sure everyone in the IT department is familiar with it. If you are using the services of an efficiency consultant, share the configuration with them before the move and discuss the details.
  • Perfectly optimize the expected benefits from the free space, cooling equipment performance, and the power you’ll need to run all servers after they all start running simultaneously. If any of the three is not calculated properly, you’ll have to apply changes on the go.
  • Make charts of the whole configuration. It will make all things a lot easier when someone needs to look for something.
  • Assign each piece of the hardware to its location in the server rack.
  • Do the same for the mounting rails. Each rail should be re-installed where it used to be before the server relocation.
  • Get rid of any damaged cables or ones that look potentially problematic.
  • Disassemble elements from the server cabinets for easier transportation. Reducing weight and size will help a lot, just don’t overdo it because you risk damaging the hardware.
  • Using a DCIM strategy is a clever way to reduce costs and improve performance. This type of management procedure is widely used in federal institutions and works well for private business companies, as well.
  • Wipe off the dust from the server cabinets and prepare them for installation at the end of the relocation process. Repair any broken or damaged elements such as doors, side panels, frames, and.
  • Inspect the fans of all coolers and replace damaged or malfunctioning fans.

Fully Loaded Server Racks

Transportation of loaded server racks is often the main reason behind damaged hardware and data loss. There are a few other factors that you should take into account such as:

  • There’s a high risk of the whole thing collapsing, leading to both damages of the server and to injuries of the staff.
  • You can potentially damage some of the elements of the server rack, which will make it unusable or will lead to spending on expensive repairs.
  • Do not attempt to move server racks that are not designed for transportation. You will distinguish the two types by elements like wheels, mounting hardware, and bolts.

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.

Posted in Moving and Packing Tips, Office Moving Advice

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