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EDIT: of course after asking the question an exact duplicate is shown...I apparently suck at searching correctly...requested close with link.

This is more of a curiosity question that could probably just be a wiki.

We are planning on moving a branch office with a small datacenter (3 racks) across town to a new physical location.

Besides just unracking the servers and loading them in a truck and driving them across town, what kind of precautions, packing, etc. should someone be concerned with nowadays?

Do hard drives in today's name brand servers park the heads themselves? We don't plan on removing the drives physically from the servers, but should we? I mean, they ship to us with the drives in them, so I figure we are safe enough to transport them that way.

Bottom line, we are looking to mitigate any issues that could arise from physically moving them. We'll back them up, label them properly, label their corresponding rack location and rails, and label their cabling.

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possible duplicate of Advice on moving a machine room to a new location? –  TheCleaner Sep 27 '11 at 13:41
    
hard drives parking heads? that transports me back 20 years! lol yes all drives park their heads and have done for quite a few years now. –  Matt Sep 28 '11 at 4:22

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

We moved 2 racks to a new datacenter across town about 2 years ago. Here's what we did:

  1. Hired a moving company that specializes in computer equipment moves. We insured the equipment with the moving company for the replacement value, including costs associated with getting new hardware delivered overnight and hiring a consulting company to assist in the set up of new equipment, if the need arose.

  2. Made sure the truck was equipped with an air ride suspension.

  3. Uncabled and then secured all equipment in the racks. This means making sure that all equipment (servers included) is screwed tightly into cage nuts.

  4. Wrapped the racks with thick moving blankets.

  5. Secured the racks in the truck with horizontal and vertical straps.

Yes, we moved the racks with the equipment in them. There's no reason not to. The equipment is no more secure if you take it out of the rack then if you leave it in the rack. In fact, it's probably more at risk as you've got to manage the safe transport of multiple individual items if you take the equipment out of the racks, not to mention having to keep track of everything.

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Just be sure to LABEL everything. It's funny how quickly you forget which SAN switch port goes to which HBA after seeing hardware in a new datacenter! I personally prefer color coded electrical tape for cables and use a Dymo on boxes and chasis.

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I don't think you've got too much to worry about - lots of people pre stage equipment at one location and move it elsewhere. Myself included. My opinions:

1) No, you don't need to remove individual drives and yes, the heads will park on shutdown

2) Remove all rails and package tightly with foam, polystyrene etc and the correct size boxes - this is the key bit, I think. 3) Use one box per piece of equipment

3) Be sure to label the boxes!

4) Where possible, hire a technical courier or do it yourself. They should handle things more carefully - don't go using FedEx or someone!

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I've done this a couple of times, I just wrap every single one up in bubblepwrap and/or cushions and put them in a box (sometimes) and that's about it, just make sure they can't move around during transport.

Some things I have learned aswell, especially with HP servers, if your server gives an error on disks, check the backpane, everytime I moved a g4p the backpane came loose.

Make sure you do have backups of all your servers, you never know the moving truck might get an accident :)

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protected by Tom O'Connor Sep 24 '13 at 23:40

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