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Tailor-Made Data Centre Migration

PokerStars - Fully Managed Data Centre Migration– Case Study

The Challenge

Following the high-profile closure of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, an online poker cardroom established in 2001, approached Technimove to provide a fully managed Data Centre migration, that was critical to the business data center strategy.

  • Fully managed relocation of Full Tilt’s existing Data Centre in Guernsey to PokerStars new facility in the Isle of Man
  • Migrating a total of 750 servers and 12 populated EMC devices
  • Completing the migration under tight timescales overseas

Data integrity and minimal or no downtime are critical when migrating servers for online gaming companies. 

The Solution

Planning and Project Management

Technimove’s migration methodology is focused around minimising both downtime and risk, two points which were of highest importance to PokerStars. After a number of pre-migration conference calls and onsite surveys at both the collection and delivery site, it was decided the quickest method to relocate the equipment would be to charter aircraft to transport the goods between the two islands.

During the initial pre-planning phases, it was found that due to runway restrictions in Guernsey, only certain types of aircraft were able to land at the airport which dictated the amount of equipment that could leave the island on each flight. It was found that the only aircraft in Europe that could handle both the weight and height of the racks, whilst still being able to land and take off at Guernsey’s short runway, was a Lockheed L382G Hercules.

The Migration

At the time of the relocation, Technimove deployed two teams; one to Guernsey to head the decommission, de-racking and loading of the equipment and the other to the Isle of Man to Pre-Cable the new environment ahead of the arrival of the kit later the same week, where they would Re-Rack and Recommission the equipment.

Due to the nature of the equipment being relocated, which was too big and delicate to go through standard X-ray machines and other secondary security procedures at airports, we packed the equipment under supervision of a government appointment security agent before transporting the equipment to the airport under escort.

All Decommissioning, De-racking and packing of the equipment was completed in two days and, as planned, all packages were at the airport on schedule and made their respective flights with plenty of time to spare.

Once the flight landed on the  Isle of Man, a short 1 hour 45 minutes after takeoff, the equipment was transported straight to the destination Data Centre where the Technimove team were able to swiftly Re-rack and Recommission the equipment with the pre-labeled cables. Just like the collection, the delivery and recommissioning of the equipment was swift and was completed within two days, meaning the whole relocation was completed and handed back to PokerStars a full two days ahead of the scheduled hand-over date.

The Result

The main concern for PokerStars when approaching Technimove was downtime. Due to the quantity and size of some equipment, multiple trips by air or an extended trip by sea would heighten risk and increase timescales between sites. Technimove’s decision to use a Hercules aircraft proved to be the right choice.

As a result, Technimove delivered above and beyond expectations by:

  • Completing the migration a full 2 days ahead of schedule despite the distance between locations

  • Reduced downtime whilst equipment was in transit

It wasn’t just the client happy on this occasion, but the locals of the Isle of Man were suitably impressed, as the chartering of the Hercules bought many people to the airport to watch the large aircraft land, including news teams covering the landing for the local news.


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