UKDedicated Case Study: Anatomy of a datacentre server relocation project

Gyron recently completed a major datacentre relocation project for UKDedicated, a leading provider of managed server hosting solutions. The project spanned 6 months, and concluded with the successful relocation of infrastructure supporting in excess of 200,000 websites to Gyron’s Centro datacentre facility in Hemel Hempstead.

High density colocation racks at Centro following successful relocation

High density colocation racks at Centro following successful relocation

Relocating even a small number of servers between datacentres is a task fraught with potential disaster. When such a project scales up to moving hundreds of servers and dozens of network switches from a live production environment, with strict time frames for acceptable downtime and zero tolerance for hardware failure, the project becomes even more challenging.

Fortunately, in recent years Gyron’s in-house team of engineers have relocated thousands of servers, plus hundreds of storage appliances, network switches, routers, firewalls and KVM units for a wide range of high profile clients.

Craig Robinson, Managing Director of UKDedicated, continues:

When we started the process of exploring new facilities to meet our rapidly expanding datacentre hosting requirements, the viability of the relocation project to move the considerable amount of existing live equipment from our two old locations to the new Centro datacentre was absolutely critical. Gyron were able to offer us everything we needed, from the high specification colocation facility itself, all the way through to the detailed planning and execution of the complex relocation project.

The project was complicated by the fact that during the relocation exercise, equipment was consolidated from two entirely separate datacentres, each with very different procedures and goods handling facilities. Ben Miller, Operations Director of Gyron, stated:

We started the project by thoroughly auditing the equipment hosted at both legacy datacentres, then sat down with UKDedicated and worked through various different relocation strategies. After reviewing UKDedicated’s priorities for the relocation and the types of equipment in use, and comparing this with our previous experience carrying out similar relocation projects, we agreed on a hybrid approach.

The older equipment in both legacy facilities was de-racked, transported to Centro on pallets then re-racked in to new cabinets in their new location. This had the added benefit of allowing UKDedicated to consolidate their older equipment in to fewer racks in order to take advantage of the high density hosting available at the Centro facility.

The newer servers were relocated by mounting the entire rack enclosures with all servers in-place on to a custom designed shock pallet, then crating the rack up and securely transporting it to their new home in the Centro datacentre.

The equipment was fully insured thoughout the relocation project by Gyron, and all hardware was escorted by a datacentre security guard during the move. Downtime was restricted to between midnight and 6AM at weekends only throughout the project in order to minimise the impact on UKDedicated’s clients.

Robin Balen, Managing Director of Gyron, concluded:

Completing this kind of complex datacentre relocation project on-time, on-budget, and with zero hardware failures really demonstrates our strength in providing integrated datacentre services. I’m proud of our team for their hard work over an extended period of time to pull this entire project together for UKDedicated.

Shock pallet with ramp

Testing the shock pallet and ramp during dry run at Centro

Custom designed shock pallet with rack secured in place

Custom designed shock pallet with rack secured in place

Unloading rack crates at straight in to loading dock

Unloading rack crates at Centro, straight in to the loading dock

Unpacking server racks at Centro

Unpacking server racks at their new home in the Centro datacentre facility

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