Critical data centre moved
In the spring of 2011, business system company Lawsons moved its entire business-critical data centre in Sweden. 500 servers were transported on nine separate occasions from the company’s premises in Danderyd to a new data centre in a secret location.
Lawson is an American business system company focusing on customers in the manufacturing industry and distribution-intensive industries. The company has been operating on a relatively large scale in Sweden since 2006, when it purchased the Swedish business system company Intentia. When plans were made to move head office in Stockholm from Danderyd to Kista, preparations began to move the extensive data centre, one of four Lawson global data centres. Eva Anderberg was appointed project manager for the transport element of the project.
– We formed various steering committees and work teams and held frequent meetings at which we drew up project plans and compiled schedules which regulated what would be moved and when, hour by hour. Eva was also responsible for the procurement of transport companies that could handle this delicate move, involving business-critical hardware.
– I decided to go for MTAB, partly because we had already had positive experiences with MTAB, and partly because I really appreciated their expertise when it came to handling and transporting valuable, fragile works of art when the Terracotta Army from China went on display in Stockholm.
Central point of contact
Eva’s team managed the move from a “central point of contact”. Up to 20 people were involved in the planning, and colleagues who could contribute knowledge to assist with this unique task had been flown in from other Lawson offices all over the world. The walls of the room were full of Post-it notes showing the various elements of the move.
– None of us had ever been involved in such an extensive server moving operation, says Eva. It was incredibly critical, because both our customers and our own development department are dependent upon constant communication with the data centre. The move itself was divided up into nine different elements, where servers were mixed in with critical and less critical systems in the vehicles being used.
– We worked during evenings and weekends to minimise the downtime of certain servers, depending on where in the world the users of the servers were working.
Racks too tall caused critical issue
When the first critical data racks weighing 500-700 kg were to be transported from the data centre to the vehicles, it turned out that they were 0.5 cm too tall to go into the lifts.
– Good advice was pretty expensive at that time, remembers Eva. We considered all the different options we could think of. MTAB project manager Johannes Fors then got in touch with the manufacturers of the racks to see whether it would be possible to collapse and transport them horizontally in the lifts.
We were all pretty nervous when the guys slowly but surely collapsed them, says Eva. But I had nothing to worry about really. They handled those heavy racks like tiny babies, with blankets and protective plastic.
It was really impressive, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. When one truck was packed and ready to go, it headed off to the new data centre. When it arrived, the driver got in touch and told the next driver he could set off.
“We did not want to have more than one truck on the road at a time in order to minimise the risks, says Eva, who maintained direct contact during the transport periods with MTAB supervisor Sven Steinus, who was present throughout. We worked really well together with MTAB, from the first planning meeting until the last bit was in place. And nothing got damaged. But more than anything else, I am really proud that our planning was so damned good!