Viridian is the leading independent energy company in the all-Ireland market. With an annual turnover of circa €1.5 Billion and employing 700 staff across NI and ROI, the Viridian Group is one of Ireland’s Top 50 Businesses. The Group comprises Power NI, Power NI Power Procurement Business and the Energia Group of Supply, Generation and Renewables companies. Together, the group supplies circa 25% of Ireland’s domestic electricity, business energy and green energy markets.
Viridian instructed Capita to manage their datacentre move from Portadown to Belfast. As Capita’s migration partner, Technimove were contracted to take over the logistics and installation aspect of the project.
A Technimove Migration Consultant initiated talks with Capita to be able to scope the project at hand. From initial meeting, it was advised that Technimove would be required to move populated racks with approximately 100 devices.
Understanding the importance of maintaining business continuity and ensuring that downtime was kept to a minimum, Technimove assigned a special projects team. The team included a Senior Project Manager, a project coordinator, an onsite project coordinator and two team leaders. The Senior project manager was engaged in the initial planning ahead of the migration phases. This was in place to understand the requirement and be able to advise and plan accordingly. To ensure all parties were on the same page, the project manager distributed a PID, weekly highlight reports, project logs, RAMS, in addition to change control management and the creation of a Migration Project Schedule.
It was advised that the collection site could only be accessed via stairs. Considering the robust equipment in the requirement, Technimove’s Senior Project Manager instructed an extensive site survey to be carried out. This would confirm the requirement, its feasibility and the risks involved. Technimove has a selection of highly experienced and skilled engineers. Each site survey is resourced differently in accordance to its purpose. In this case, Technimove required to identify a method of how equipment could be moved out of the building and brought down a flight of stairs.
A site survey confirmed that the equipment was located on the first floor accessed by a metal staircase located outside the building.
- The drive-in to the property is too narrow for a van to access
- The Staircase is slippery, making it a bigger risk for engineers to carry equipment down the stairs
- Some of the equipment, mainly racks, would be too big and heavy to be carried down the stairs
- Should it rain on the day, there would be a great risk for the equipment to get wet
- The server room was too small to have more than 4 engineers working at a time meaning that the migration timelines are likely to be longer Measurements and pictures taken onsite together with a full report were returned to Technimove’s offices where a thorough study was conducted to identify the best approach.
After several considerations, Technimove advised Capita/Viridian that moving the racks populated was not best practice. The racks would prove difficult to move populated out of such a location. It would also be ideal to invest in newer racks and new cabling to fit the new location. To reduce risk, Technimove advised that lifting equipment should be used to mitigate the risk and manpower required of using the stairs.
Capita and Viridian welcomed this approach and Technimove went ahead to organise the premigration activities together with the logistics arrangements for migration day.
A couple of months before migration date, Technimove performed a full Physical audit of the environment. Capita/Viridian used this information to design the new environment and designate the switch ports that these server ports will connect to. Our audit included the following:
Serial numbers and existing rack and U location of all devices. The customer used this information to decide what equipment was required to be moved or what equipment needed disposing of the ports populated on each device, i.e. Nic 1 – RJ45, Nic 2 – Fibre etc
Labelling both ends of all dedicated, interconnecting cables (such as SCSIs) These had to be removed, packed and re-used at the destination site by the client. Any nondedicated cables, (like CAT 6) were not labelled as these were going to be replaced during a migration.As part of the auditing service, Technimove also carried out a Cable Trace which included tracing all the cables from server to switch end. This provided a higher level of detail on the cabling configuration. All the auditing information was then presented in a patching schedule for the client to peruse. This helped the Technical Architect to identify what equipment was required at the destination site together with the configuration. Capita’s technical architect worked together with out project coordinators to be able to produce the destination patching schedule.
Once the destination patching schedule was drawn up, Technimove attended the destination site to commence pre-cabling. Technimove recommends this activity as it minimises downtime and reduces risk on migration day. Top of rack switches/patch panels were cabled with copper and fibre. All cables were labelled top and tail and managed to the correct U position in line with destination rack plans and the patching schedule.
Ahead of migration day, Technimove liaised with a logistics partner to provide a telescopic handler and an operator. Another visit from our logistics partner confirmed that the top of stairs rails needed to be removed for easy access. Access to the adjacent car dealership was also required for the telehandler and vehicles to be parked. This was all relayed back to Capita and all arrangements were in place. In Technimove’s offices, a thorough health and safety workshop was conducted with all Technimove engineers, providing them with safety harnesses and hard hats to reduce risk of injury. A migration plan was drawn up and several Technimove teams were assigned duties and responsibilities.
On migration day, Technimove ensured that this challenging project is well managed and undertaken in the least time possible. On the day, Technimove provided four different teams with different team leaders. All teams were selected according to their strengths and expertise.
All the equipment was decommissioned, wrapped in bubble wrap and placed into foam lined flight cases. The flightcases were than strapped and forked onto the telescopic handler which transported the flightcases to the ground before loaded onto the vehicles. Several vehicles were provided so that equipment could be split across. This meant that priority kit could be transported first, and the team did not need to wait for all the equipment to be out of the racks before starting the relocation to the delivery site.
A different team was based at the delivery site, ready to receive the first loads of equipment. Having smaller deliveries of priority equipment meant that this equipment could be handed over to Capita for testing earlier than expected. This team ensured that all the equipment was racked in accordance to the rack plans provided.
A cabling team was also based at the delivery site to ensure that once equipment is reracked, it is recommissioned as soon as possible. This team concentrated on all the patching and getting equipment handed over in the agreed timelines.
A post commissioning team was offered to the client as knowledgeable assistance and assurance, post migration. The team assisted the client with last-minute changes to the patching documentation, snag and replace cables. The team were onsite to present an additional layer of security and peace of mind for the client.
Technimove are renowned for server migration and move equipment between data centres on a daily basis. This project was quite different as the collection site was not a data centre and it was not viable to move equipment from. However, Technimove managed to deliver this project successfully, reducing risks to a minimum whilst adhering to the timelines provided.
On migration day both Capita and Viridian were relieved to see the equipment relocated successfully.
Capita’s project manager expressed her gratitude towards Technimove and looked forward to working with us again. At the back of this, Capita instructed Technimove to dispose off the racks and equipment left at the collection site.