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Brian Smith, network administrator at Advanced Energy Technology (AET),has been given the responsibility of implementing the migration of a large data center to a new office location. Careful planning is needed because AET operates in the highly competitive petroleum industry. AET is one of five national software companies that provide an accounting and business management package for oil jobbers and gasoline distributors. A few years ago, AET jumped into the “application service provider” world. Their large data center provides clients with remote access to AET’s complete suite of application software systems.
Traditionally, one of AET’s primary competitive advantages has been the company’s trademark IT reliability. Due to the complexity of this project, Brian will have to use a parallel method of implementation. Although this will increase project costs, a parallel approach is essential if reliability is not to be compromised. Currently, AET’s data center is located on the second floor of a renovated old bank building in downtown Corvallis, Oregon.
The company is moving to a new, one-level building located in the recently developed industrial complex at the Corvallis International Airport.
On February 1, Brian is formally assigned the task by the Vice-President of Operations, Dan Whitmore, with the following guidelines: • From start to finish, it is anticipated the entire project will take three to four months to complete. • It is essential that AET’s 235 clients suffer no downtime. Whitmore advises Brian to come back to the Executive Committee on February 15, with a presentation on the scope of the project that includes costs, “firstcut” timeline, and proposed project team members.
Brian had some preliminary discussions with some of AET’s managers and directors from each of the functional departments and then arranged for a full-day scope meeting on February 4 with a few of the managers and technical representatives from operations, systems, facilities, and applications. The scope team determined the following: • Three to four months is a feasible project timeline and first-cut cost estimate is $80,000–$90,000 (this includes the infrastructure upgrade of the new site). Critical to the “no-downtime” requirement is the need to completely rely on AET’s remote disaster recovery “hot” site for full functionality. • Brian will serve as project manager of a team consisting of one team member each from facilities, operations/systems, operations/telecommunications, systems & applications, and customer service. Brian’s Executive Committee report was positively received and, after a few modifications and recommendations, he was formally charged with responsibility for the project.
Brian recruited his team and scheduled their first team meeting (March 1) as the initial task of his project planning process. Case197 Once the initial meeting is conducted Brian can hire the contractors to renovate the new data center. During this time Brian will figure out how to design the network. Brian estimates that screening and hiring a contractor will take about one week and that the network design will take about two weeks. The new center requires a new ventilation system. The manufacturer’s requirements include an ambient temperature of 67 degrees to keep all of the data servers running at optimal speeds.
The ventilation system has a lead time of three weeks. Brian will also need to order new racks to hold the servers, switches, and other network devices. The racks have a two-week delivery time. The data center supervisor requested that Brian replace all of the old power supplies and data cables. Brian will need to order these as well. Because Brian has a great relationship with the vendor, they guarantee that it will take only one week lead time for the power supplies and the data cables.
Once the new ventilation system and racks arrive, Brian can begin installing them. It will take one week to install the ventilation system and three weeks to install the racks. The renovation of the new data center can begin as soon as the contractors have been hired. The contractors tell Brian that construction will take 20 days. Once the construction begins and before Brian installs the ventilation system and racks, the city inspector must approve the construction of the raised floor. The city inspector will take two days to approve the infrastructure.
After the city inspection and after the new power supplies and cables have arrived, Brian can install the power supplies and run the cables. Brian estimates that it will take five days to install the power supplies and one week to run all of the data cables. Before Brian can assign an actual date for taking the network off line and switching to the hot remote site, he must get approval from each of the functional units (“Switchover Approval”). Meetings with each of the functional units will require one week.
During this time he can initiate a power check to ensure that each of the racks has sufficient voltage. This will require only one day. Upon completion of the power check, he can take one week to install his test servers. The test servers will test all of the primary network functions and act as a safeguard before the network is taken off line. The batteries must be charged, ventilation installed, and test servers up and running before management can be assured that the new infrastructure is safe, which will take two days.
Then they will sign off the Primary Systems check, taking one day of intense meetings. They will also set an official date for the network move. Brian is happy that everything has gone well thus far and is convinced that the move will go just as smoothly. Now that an official date is set, the network will be shut down for a day. Brian must move all of the network components to the new data center. Brian will do the move over the weekend—two days—when user traffic is at low point.
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