Friday, February 14, 2014

Part I: Preparing For A Physical Network Move Of A Company From One Site To Another

Have you ever had to move a company's network infrastructure from one building to another?  It seems that most of the hard work is the actual moving of equipment.  But what do you do to prepare for the move?  Here are some thoughts that I consider when moving a company, from a network guy's perspective:
1.  I draw out a physical connections layout in something like MSPaint or Visio.  You need to know all of the connections, meaning what switch/port connects to what switch/port on the next.  See the drawing below for an example of what I mean.  I have crossed out some names and IP addresses that belong to this customer, but you get the idea.  NOTE** The server guy should also do something like this so they know where to plug back into the switch without the network guy having to change config.

2.  Are there any changes in the network you want to consider in the NEW building?  If so, write them down.  Maybe the changes will happen, maybe not.  Sometimes its hard to tell until you get there, but if you are planning on considering the changes, write them down so you dont forget them.  Afterthoughts are usually too late when trying to get a network up and going.
3.  Take a copy of all the configs of what you are moving.  Its just safe practice.  Do a 'show run' into a text file so you have a backup.  If something bad happens, you have a copy you can just TFTP back to the unit and you are back in business (theoretically speaking).  Take a good backup before you break everything down.
4.  If you are making any changes in the physical space of the rack, make sure all team members in the move know where the network gear is physically going in the rack.  Don't decide during the move.  Everyone needs to be on the same page.  If you network gear goes in the top of the rack, make sure everyone knows how many 'U' you need.
5.  Make sure everyone is on the same page for 'power down' of the equipment.  Get with your server guys, and everyone agrees when power down of equipment is.  I have seen turning network equipment off that has negatively affected servers before.  You dont want your server guy having problems.  Problems for
him is problems for you as well.  Everyone must agree on power down time.
6.  Make sure your network gear is up at the new site first, before servers are on.  Somewhat the same principle as #5.

There are many things to check for in the new facility.  You just have to know what to look for.  You dont want water pipes/sprinklers in the server room.  You need to make sure enough cool air from the HVAC unit is going to cool the room for all the gear going in (that will heat up the room).  Just use your head and common sense.  There are a lot of things to look for.  If you see something that seems odd to you, voice that opinion.  You never know what everyone else has missed.

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