You have had the phone call, you are moving office and you are responsible for the IT relocation – as well as doing you day to day job.
Any change has risks associated with it and a relocation of IT equipment would have to be one of the riskiest of all.
Lots of moving parts, different vendors in the mix, interdependencies built up over many years. Now the CEO wants you to move it over a weekend to the new office with no issues?
But with a bit of planning and work, your IT relocation can be successful. Here are 9 tips that we recommend based upon our experience in IT relocations.
1 – Plan, Plan and Plan
While IT may represent a small amount of equipment when compared to furniture, files and other equipment, planning is essential. As soon as you are aware you need to move, start the planning of your IT relocation
2 – Communications are critical
Installation lead times for communication, in most moves, is the weak link in any IT relocation. Most providers in Australia require 60-90 days to provision a business grade service, and this can be even worse over the Christmas period. Many a time has the availability of communications been the deciding factor on the date of the whole move.
If push comes to shove you can provision a wireless connection in the meantime, but this can create double the work (you need to cut over to the fixed line later) and can create technical issues like fixed IP addresses, reliability and speed of connection.
3 – Backup and Disaster Recovery (DR)
- Have you tested your backup?
- Have you got a tested DR Plan?
- Have you got hardware/Software maintenance on all your items?
- What is the SLA on this maintenance?
While we plan for the best, things do go wrong in a move. What if the 5 year old server does not boot up? What If equipment is damaged? Insurance can replace hardware, but they will not get it operational in the next few hours. Additionally it is no good having an hardware issue and the provider can’t respond till Monday or parts are overseas.
Talk to your hardware maintenance provider and let them know the move timing and get their assurances on availability of service and parts.
4 – Documentation
Even though you have been looking at that blue cable for the last 5 years, when the move is on and you are tired, trust me you will not remember on which interface it goes into the firewall.
Document as much as possible, at a minimum include:
- All configuration dumps (especially network equipment)
- Network diagrams (logical and physical)
- Rack and Cable diagrams
- Label critical cables
- Photos of all equipment front and back
- Power cables and connectors
5 – Time for a refresh?
Where possible and where budget allows, try to minimise what your move and build new as much as possible. Apart from getting shiny new equipment, this can help take the pressure off on the day. In addition you are able to test these elements well before hand and remove the risk associated with movement.
6 – Test as much before the move day
Ensure that what is installed prior to the move day is tested and signed off by the providers. This gives you less to worry about on the day. Some examples include:
- Internet connections
- Phone/Fax lines
- Computer grade air conditioning
- UPS power protection
- Structured Patch cabling
- Security Systems
7 – Multi task on the day
Understand what can be done in parallel and what must be done in serial with dependencies.
This is why we recommend that the IT move be considered separate to the office move.
We had a client in the past load the IT equipment first on the truck before the office furniture. This meant the IT equipment was last off the truck and the IT guys were waiting for many hours rather than getting on with the job.
8 – What if, no when something goes wrong
Make sure you have discussed with the business contingencies for things that can go wrong. What is your plan and how long will it take to resolve. Just some examples include:
- Unavailability of IT key staff (sickness or injury)
- Failed hardware on boot up
- Damaged hardware on move
- Data corruption
- Incorrect cabling at the new site.
9 – Post Move testing
Create a test plan in conjunction with the business that highlights the priority of services you need to test, what is considered a successful test and who will do it.
This is where non-IT members of your company can assist (for example, log on to every machine and do a test print or test every phone).
The first day back after the move (usually a Monday) there will be problems, so do not book any activities at that time and be available to work on any issues. All the great work on the weekend can fall apart if you are not able to help the VP of Marketing and their colour printing.
In summary, if you consider the above tips for your IT relocation, you will minimize the risk and maximize your success,
Phil Jones is the Director and Founder of Focus Group Technologies based in Sydney Australia. www.fgtech.com.au
Focus Group Technologies is an IT and Critical Infrastructure systems integrator that specialise in assisting corporations move their IT equipment. To find out how they have helped many organisations move in the past, contact them on 02 8861 1800 or email@example.com