Data center moving day: REJIS makes it a smooth one

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The new data center would accommodate hot and cold isles for distributed servers, rather than the old mainframe designs of the last century. "We had 12-in. raised floors that were getting crowded and reducing our airflow," says Gorham. "The new data center has 24-in. floors so we don't have to worry about hot spots anymore." The new data center also provides more floor and rack space to grow the managed-hosting part of the service, and be a more secure facility in case of fire, earthquakes, potential flooding, severe wind events and tornados.

A basement isn't a good place for a data center. "We are in an earthquake zone, and our old data center was below grade, not to mention being underneath a five-story building. We have had some water there before, and it could have been worse," says Gorham. "Plus, there was a lot of dead wiring, too, that was blocking airflow. We needed a better disaster recovery plan and having a new data center in a separate building will help."

Plus, the old building didn't have a loading dock, making deliveries of new computer gear difficult. Finally, REJIS wanted to act as a backup location for the main state data center, located a few hours away in Jefferson City.

All these features were incorporated into the new building.

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Tip:  During the actual move, make sure at least one person has a master contact list of every staffer's home, cell and pager numbers, as well as contact information for key clients and vendors.
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The move was scheduled for the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, to give IT staffers an extra day in case they had problems bringing everything back online and because most of their clients who work normal daytime, weekday hours wouldn't be around. It was scheduled to take place in the middle of the night, at 2 a.m., during the lightest user load on their system.

This meant some extra planning: "At two in the morning, you aren't going to find an extra 5-ft. cable, so we bought many extra supplies just in case," says Gorham. "Happily, we can return the unused ones to our vendors."

Now, I am not a night person. Usually, I am in bed by 9:30 p.m. But to get this story, I set my alarm and arrived shortly before 1 a.m. on Saturday, May 26.

Despite the shortness of my commute, I am probably the last person to get to REJIS's office. There are already about 50 people crowded into the common break room. And, already, something has gone wrong. The new elevator in the new building wasn't working, and Frank, the elevator technician on duty that night, had been called in to debug it.

The total distance for the move from the old to new buildings is less than 100 feet -- but it is up two flights of stairs and down a couple of halls. Hence, the need for the working elevator.

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