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Who to involve

Moving your IT systems will be a pivotal element of the move, so you must scope the project as soon as possible. Your IT department will need to manage and maintain your computer system and network during the move programme and may not have relocated a computer system before. Be realistic about what is involved and seek professional advice if you need it. You may decide to appoint specialist contractors to relocate your entire IT infrastructure; or you may prefer to appoint specialists only to undertake certain tasks. Either way, you must fully scope the project to identify all the tasks and costs involved.

New site survey

Before you think about moving equipment, complete a thorough survey of the new premises.

Cable management

Identify where your server room/data centre will be located and make sure all the cabling and wiring in the new building will support your IT and communications infrastructure.

Space planning

As soon as you can, get accurate plans of the new site showing the position of:

  • Power cables
  • Power points
  • Floor boxes
  • Telephone lines

These will determine the location of workstations, desks and office furniture, as well as office equipment such as computers, telephones, printers and photocopiers.

Testing

The cabling and telephone system in the new site should be tested at the first opportunity. It is important to confirm that all areas of your new premises can support the IT infrastructure that has been designated to it.

Server / Back office

The relocation of servers and data centre equipment requires a detailed method and approach. The server environment and the nature of the systems can dictate the move timetable and might even limit the time frame available.

Equipment audit and impact analysis

Undertake a detailed equipment audit, which should include.

  • Existing rack position
  • New rack position
  • Name, serial number / asset identifier

You should also do a system/service delivery impact analysis to establish:

  • Current user dependencies
  • Connectivity
  • Local/wide area business processes

The audit and analysis will help you to create a graphical view and timeline of the server relocation programme to ensure minimal disruption to the dependent users.

Connectivity audit

For more complex cabled equipment you should complete an audit of wiring schematics to assist with the re-commissioning of the data centre/server room at your new premises.

Photographs

Digital photographs of original connectivity will help with the re-commissioning process and final power-up sequence of the equipment at the new site.

Engineers

Your removals company will be able to supply specialist accredited engineers or server-aware engineers to help with the relocation of servers and back office equipment on move day.

Specialist help
  • Planning and managing the relocation of IT equipment requires an enormous amount of skill, expertise and manpower. It is worth talking to IT specialists at an early stage to scope the project accurately so you can decide when and where you might need additional resources.
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Desktops

The key indicator of the success of a business move is level of downtime. ‘Desktop services’ are essential to this.

Audit

Early in the planning process, complete an audit of all desktop equipment in your current workplace. Include:

  • PC monitors
  • Hard drives (and the software used at each position)
  • Keyboards
  • Docking stations
  • Printers
  • Other electrical devices such as PDA cradles, dictaphone machines and telephones

The information gathered should include:

  • Floor/ location
  • Name, serial/asset numbers
  • Equipment type
  • Voice/data port details

Everything should be collated into a spreadsheet format for easy reference.

Dispose and replace?

A business move offers the opportunity to update or replace equipment such as old computer monitors with new flat screens. Don’t forget there are a number of regulations and directives governing the disposal of electrical equipment. Your removal company or contractors will be able to help, and also advise about the options for recycling.

Planning for the move

It is likely your entire move sequence will be dictated by IT requirements.

Project Manager

Your moving company will offer a specialist technical project manager to work with your IT department. They will use the audits to complete a feasibility study and risk analysis before devising a relocation plan, which will include:

  • Data and system back up
  • Under floor requirements
  • New rack configurations
  • Labelling
  • New layouts
  • Connectivity
  • Schedules for patching of data

Activity schedule

You will need to agree a separate resource and activity schedule for your IT systems to include:

  • Back up times
  • Disconnection and re-connection times
  • Testing
  • Roll-out
  • Supply
  • Installation and support

Engineers and technicians

You may need additional engineers and technicians to help on move day. As soon as you have confirmed the date, book the resources you need.

Move day

Your IT and telecommunications equipment will be the priority for packing and relocating on move day.

Server/data centre

Back-ups need to have been taken and verified before shutdown can begin; and re-configuration information and connectivity carefully photographed, labelled and logged. Extra care and attention is needed in the packing and transportation of servers and data centre equipment. Make sure your moving company can provide the specialists you need as well as the special packaging and transportation required for example:

  • Protected server cases
  • Anti-static packaging
  • Crates and cages
  • Air-ride vehicles

At the new premises each item should be cross-checked against the audit list before being individually checked and installed back into the correct rack configuration. Your moving company will complete basic checks and testing on equipment before handing over to your specialist contractors or IT team for final connectivity and network testing.

Desktop equipment

‘Shut down’ should be managed to an agreed procedure and sequence once system back-ups have been completed and verified. Labelling will be critical to control unpacking at the new premises and equipment and peripherals should be logged on an audit sheet. As cables and connectivity is removed from equipment it should also be bagged, labelled and logged. All items should be individually wrapped in anti-static packaging before being crated and secured for transport; and unpacking should be done at the user location and equipment checked against the audit list.

Re-commissioning

Don’t underestimate the time and resources required for:

  • Cable management
  • Checking cables and connectivity
  • Server testing
  • Confirming ‘power-up’ functionality
  • Checking voice and data connections
  • Portable Appliance Testing
  • Re-installation of software and programs
  • Printer re-mapping
  • Telephone extension checks
  • Switchboard testing

Specialist help

Planning and managing the relocation of IT equipment requires an enormous amount of skill, expertise and manpower. It is worth talking to IT specialists at an early stage to scope the project accurately so you can decide when and where you might need additional resources.

Next: The communications challenge

Avoiding the pitfalls
  • Plan well in advance and get specialist help
  • Scope the project fully
  • At every stage, check floor plans and workplace configurations for IT
  • Complete a thorough audit of all equipment
  • Employ specialists to move complex and critical equipment
  • Confirm your moving company’s security arrangements for IT equipment
  • Organise extra technicians and engineers for move day
  • On move day check system back-ups have been taken and verified
  • Don’t underestimate the time required for testing and reinstallation