Moving a Data Center

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Tom Keating
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Moving a Data Center

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Moving a data center can be fun. Yes, if you enjoy being up from 6am (Friday) to 2am (Saturday) it's a real blast. And then spending all day Saturday until 10pm screwing in rails, rackmounting servers, installing new KVMs, connecting patch cables, power cords, surge protectors, Gigabit PoE switches, IP phones, etc. Of course, it'll all be worth it in the end since TMC will have much more organized and professional looking data center.

Special thanks to TMC's Vahid Hashemian, Larry Szebeni, and Muhannad Harrim who were immensely helpful in staying late and coming in on the weekend to hook up TMC's entire data center / network infrastructure. Of course free beer, Chinese food, Doritos, Reeses peanut butter cups, chips, pretzels, and other snacks were a good incentive. Thanks also to Rich Tehrani for the free "fuel" to keep us going into the wee-hours of the morning. The expense report and receipts are already in your new office.

Even will all the planning we had some snafus, including tripping an overloaded surge protector with too many daisy-chained surge protectors and servers attached. Down goes Frasier! Down goes Gypsy web server, blog server, Exchange, and more. We also were missing the proper twist lock for feeding a PDU that powers a few of our critical servers. We discovered this around 9pm Friday night. Although the electricians were there earlier in the day, somehow I think the electricians won't be coming back if we call them. Luckily we had another Dell PDU that were able to connect to our backup UPS, which was then able to feed the servers.

Both Larry and I did not escape unscathed and unbloodied. Larry cut his index finger pretty deep while working on the rackmount. I have what I believe to be a broken thumb from sledding in the snow (don't ask) and yet I had to screw in about 200 screws along with about 50 thumbscrews. Had to push through the pain since it's my dominant hand and if I wanted to get any sleep at all I needed both hands to finish the job. My hands also have some minor scrapes.

In any event, after all the servers were hooked up we also connected the PC workstations. Alas, the team of movers that did their best to organize and label mice, keyboards, monitors, and PCs and then put them in their proper cubicle must have hit the IT Bermuda Triangle - because we have missing IP phones, mice, keyboards, and PCs. Tomorrow, "my mission, should I choose to accept it - well actually I must accept it - will be to hunt down the IT equipment that is MIA."

That is if I have time. I still have to go pick up the Asterisk-based server back at the old headquarters, rackmount it, test the PRI, and then create some funky RJ14-RJ45 cables for connecting fax machines and other analog devices to the analog cards on the PBX.

It's an exciting time for TMC as we move into a much large building. Losing my entire weekend is a worthy sacrifice. I'm sure Larry, Vahid, and I will still have some odds-and-ends to do coming Monday morning. I'm still waiting for the first TMC team member to come to MIS/IT and ask "How come you didn't hook up my speakers?"  I'll just smile and say, "We'll get right on it. Definitely a top priority. Let me stop porting our phone numbers over this morning and other important tasks so you can get your streaming radio."

Ok, so I jest - a little.

Fellow TMCers - please bear with MIS as we deal with higher priority tasks. Speakers, peripherals, phone & PC location (left vs right side), and adding new printers are low-priority. Logon issues, PC or phone not working, mouse not working are obviously high-priority issues since you cannot work without MIS resolving. Definitely see MIS for these issues. Though if the reason your PC, phone or mouse isn't working is because it's missing, you might want to touch base with the TMC moving team. They probably sold them on eBay or something. Just kidding! I'm sure they'll show up...

Note: Fellow team members, I write this at 1:35am, so please excuse all failed attempts at humor.


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