Relocation a data centre is no easy feat. It involves a lot more than unplugging a few cables, moving the hardware to the new location, and plugging it all back in again. Two experts give a behind-the-scenes look at the whole operation.

The key to a successful data centre relocation is good planning, according to our two experts: Henk Heylen, Portfolio Manager at Getronics, and Erik Van den Broek, CEO at Data Center Services (DCS). Both Getronics and DCS have dedicated departments that specialise in designing and relocating data centres. New LCL clients can rely on their services for the relocation of their own data centre infrastructure to one of LCL's data centres.

Preparation is everything
The first and foremost task is to make an inventory of everything that will need to be relocated and to work out a schedule for the move, the experts of Getronics and DCS confirm. What are you going to move? How many racks, servers, and switches? The different phases of the relocation have to be identified, and a fallback scenario has to be formulated. In other words: the success of a relocation hinges on planning and preparation.  

Erik Van den Broek

"A data centre move may be simple or complex", Erik Van den Broek explains."The level of difficulty depends on the activities of the client: is downtime an option or not? Long weekends are the ideal time for a move if you want to keep the impact of a relocation on the service delivery of a business to a minimum."

Henk Heylen

"For some businesses, such as web shop owners, downtime is not an option. But there are solutions for every problem", says Henk Heylen: "It is more difficult to relocate a data centre without any downtime. It means all the infrastructure has to be duplicated. One solution is a parallel installation of infrastructure in the new data centre. This ensures guaranteed uptime and no interruption to normal business operations."

Insurance against data loss
"Another important aspect is the need to take measures in relation to data loss" , Erik Van den Broek adds."Extra back-ups have to be made of all the data. It is also a good idea to take out a comprehensive insurance policy for the equipment, especially to cover any accidental damage to hardware during the physical relocation. This physical move can also have quite an impact on the network infrastructure. Network links, internet connections and connectivity have to be guaranteed at all times. All the possible problem scenarios and solutions have to be described in detail in the fallback disaster recovery plan."

Needless to say, the physical transport of the hardware is by far the most straightforward phase of any relocation project."At Getronics, we have special trucks with pneumatic suspension", says Heylen. "This cushions the effect of any vibrations and bumps during the journey." DCS reduces the risk of damage to equipment by putting it into separate boxes, spread across multiple trucks.

Once it gets to the new location, it is important to allow the equipment to acclimatise to the new environment. "A change of temperature may cause problems", Heylen speaks from experience. "That is why it is always best to wait a while before turning on the hardware." ; Finally, Heylen explains that the relocation of a data centre is the ideal opportunity for a client to review the condition of its data centre and to implement any necessary upgrades at the same time. "Equipment is sometimes out of date, and the configuration of the various components can often be improved. That is why we advise some clients to carry out a review of their ICT equipment as well when they are planning to relocate."

Gentlemen, thanks for the tips!  

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