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Need to plan the best way to physically move a server room (12 IBM x3400 towers) and all associated networking equipment to a new building.

Everything is going, comms (80 strong call centre operation), desktops(80-90) the whole lot and has to be done efficiently over a weekend.

What I cant seem to find are the best ways to move equipment, i.e is it best to remove hard drives and pack them separetely, do I pack the chassis' with foam and/or surround them in bubble wrap?

Are there specific products designed to move computer equipment and where would I find these.

The internet has failed me so far, please help

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How far? Next door, across town, interstate, what? The methodology is often influenced by how far you need to move. –  John Gardeniers Jan 27 '11 at 21:53

4 Answers 4

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I just did it for 16 servers and 90 desktops.

Damages: one desk and one desktop cpu heatsing detached from the motherboard (not properly attached from the beginning).

The answer is: lots of bubble wrap. The servers (including racks and networking stuff) were moved by me and my colleagues, one by one. And yes, I have removed HDDs from the servers and I have used bubble wrap for this.

I have used special services for moving. They have moved my 76kg UPSs.

For desktops I have used 60x60x40 cm boxes and bubble wrap.

Thanks for inventing bubble wrap, whoever you are.

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I have usually seen the task split into 2 parts: Desktops are handled however the rest of an employees unique/personal equipment is handled; either by the employee himself or a service who packs everything in/on the desk and possibly including the desk and moves to the new location. Servers are left to admins and the method varies as noted above about how far they are being moved.

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There's few shortcuts when it comes to moving the desktops as there's a reasonable amount on them and presumably you want each user to keep the same machine/mouse/display etc. after the move.

Obviously it depends on your budget but you could use this move to review your current server setup - maybe use the move to refresh them if old, reduce the number or perhaps virtualise the current servers if you've not already - any or all of these could help.

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There's a section of the marvelous The Practice of System and Network Administration by Limoncelli et al that deals with exactly that issue. You should consider reading that as it contains various check lists and provides a few hints to some gotchas that may arise.

A hint from someone who has survived some serious office movement with big companies - hire someone who will actually be able to lift all those things at once with the appropriate trucks and has a good insurance.

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+1 for mentioning the Tom Limoncelli book. –  Nic Jan 27 '11 at 16:16
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+1 for hiring a specialist company to drag boxes around. I would still do the servers myself, but I'm a control freak :-) Also, we assume the new office has had it's coms and every single wall-port tested? And you've got (temporary/old/spare) switches, UPS-es, router(s) & internet links up & running, and tested for bandwidth, before you even consider moving any server? –  DutchUncle Jan 27 '11 at 19:58

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