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Data center moving day: REJIS makes it a smooth one

By David Strom
June 19, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - It isn't often that you have access to your local neighborhood data center, literally a few steps down the block. But I did. I live in a residential area of St. Louis called the Central West End, and I pass by the offices of the Regional Justice Information Service (REJIS) almost every day. When I learned that it was going to be moving its data center, I knew that I had to be there for the actual move.

That was before I found out about the background check and how the move was taking place during the middle of the night. But I am getting ahead of the story.

In the process of reporting on the move, I got to see some terrific best practices about how to pick up your servers and minimize downtime, too. (See the best practices tips scattered throughout this story.)

Moving a data center isn't easy under the best of circumstances. And no matter how hard you plan, there are still things that you don't think about, like a brand-new elevator that wasn't working. (More on that, too.)

The REJIS data center then (above) and now. (Click images for larger version.)

REJIS is an interesting enterprise: It was founded in 1976 to provide IT services to the public sector in the St. Louis area. The organization now handles more than 200 different government clients for applications development and it supports more than a dozen different programming languages.

Tip:  "Put staff at various remote locations during the move," says Eric Gorham, director of IT for the organization. That way, services can be tested as they are restored -- without affecting the main data center staff.

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