A “relocation” is the process of moving a Data Server from its current location to another one. Almost always, this means finding a new data center to host it in. Sometimes, moves are also made for security reasons, such as transferring your server out of your home or office into a more secure environment.
On the internet, there are many tales about how difficult this process can be. The majority seem to indicate that if you’re not very careful and do things just right, you could lose all access to your site temporarily.
And like with most horror stories, these legends tend to be inflated by their re-telling over time until they become “when I moved my site (and lost everything).” But it’s not true. Relocating a Data Server is routine, and the process is simple, if tedious.
Typical server latency, however, may increase temporarily during the operation of relocating a server due to communication issues between the server cluster and server host. Server access may also be unavailable for up to an hour if there are complications that arise during the moving process.
All in all, the server relocation process should not require any adjustments from the player’s side, as it should be nearly transparent to players with certain exceptions.
Data Server Relocation Process
Before starting server relocation planning, make sure to gather all necessary information you can about administrative procedures like change control, user access procedures, etc., along with your company’s policy governing server use.
Also, find out what network bandwidth you have at your disposal so as not to overwhelm it during server relocation activities.
Once everything is set, start creating a server move request form which will contain project details such as the name of the person responsible for the whole operation, server relocation date, server locations during each phase of the server relocation process.
Document the Current Configuration
Once you have gathered all server information, now it’s time to document everything about your servers as you will need it for server configuration and application installation purposes.
In order to make sure that all applications remain functional after server relocation is completed, make a list of application location paths and network shares along with their respective UNC path addresses. Also, include any required server certificates for access into these application data storage folders or drives during the server relocation process.
Add this documented server information to the server move request form so that you don’t lose track of anything important. Make a note regarding each app’s version number, if available. If not, at least note the server OS version and service packs.
Create a Server Relocation Checklist
In server relocation, a server move checklist is basically a list of all server tasks that need to be performed during the server relocation process. It is advisable to use server management tools with this checklist as they can provide server configuration details like OS version, patch levels, etc., quicker than using spreadsheets or other manual methods.
However, if you aren’t familiar with the server management tool’s functions and features, then it’s better not to use it for this purpose and do everything manually on paper via spreadsheet method or create steps in some project management software like MS Project.
Make sure that the server administrator is aware of how to run server management tools before planning server move activities.
Backup Server Data
Before server relocation can begin, you need to make sure that server data is backed up in the event of server failure during the server move or server relocation phase. If your RAID configuration supports hot-swapping, then it’s possible to move your machine without having to shut it down first.
Otherwise, backup server data stored on hard disks before trying to relocate servers physically might result in hard disk failure if not done properly. It will be wise to create a server backup plan which includes server virtualization procedures like utilizing snapshots & clones (for Hyper-V). You can use Microsoft System Center 2012 Virtual Machine Manager (SC2012 VMM) for this purpose if you are dealing with a Hyper-V environment.
For other server types, you can use server backup software to take server backups. Be sure to include the server relocation phase in the server backup plan as well as the server data restoration procedure after the server move or server relocation is complete. It must also contain information about how server data will be restored on the new server during the final server consolidation phase.
Server Move Activities
If your servers are virtualized, then it’s a good idea to clone them before moving them physically so that new machines can be configured just like the original one. If there are any physical hardware changes needed, then directly clone these changed components, too, along with the system disk, which holds OS and application installation files.
You can do this using Hyper-V replica technology or other 3rd party tools like Veeam Endpoint Backup Free that can be used to clone server machine data. In case of a physical server relocation, check server hardware compatibility with the new server rack or server room by checking the server manually for this purpose.
If you aren’t dealing with a Hyper-V environment, then use server management tools to ensure that all server components are compatible with each other.
Install Operating System and Software Updates
Start installing OS and software updates before the actual server move begins so that there will be no issues regarding these updates during the server relocation process later on. As far as possible, try to make your choice regarding where you want to install OS and software update files in the new drive letter (which will be C: drive letter after server move).
It’s much easier than moving them manually after the server relocation process is complete. Make sure that the server administrator knows about the server move directory structure so that he can install these updates properly after the server relocation is done.
You will probably need to do server application installation at some point during the server relocation process as well, but keep in mind that if you are doing server machine cloning before actual relocation, then applications installed on the source server must be uninstalled first before creating a replica of this server on the destination machine.
So it’s advisable to postpone application installation until step 9 of the server relocation procedure list, which involves the final server consolidation phase after the physical move or server virtualization is complete.
This way, your new machine will have required application binaries already present on its system disk, and all you need to do is install server application service pack updates which consist of server installation-related changes only.
This server move task involves running a server preparation script called ‘Sysprep that prepares the server machine for cloning or server virtualization migration procedure.
You can also use server management tools to configure the server instead of using Sysprep but if you want to save time, then utilize this tool as it can do all these configurations automatically by reading server configuration settings from a file called ‘unattend.txt.’
This way, you won’t have any manual configuration issues during server virtualization or server machine cloning process, so run the ‘Sysprep’ step before the final server consolidation phase in the event of physical relocation or afterward in case of Hyper-V server virtualization.
Final Server Consolidation
After the server move is complete server administrator needs to consolidate server machine data on the new server in case of Hyper-V server virtualization or system disk cloning procedure if it’s a physical server relocation. It means that all server files and configuration settings must be copied from the old server (source server) to the new server (destination server).
This is an important phase that ensures that all data present on source servers are properly copied to destination servers either by cloning system disk or Hyper-V replica technology if it’s a virtual machine relocation. After this step, your server move task list should end here as now you have completed what was planned for this particular project.
Why choose us for your relocation project?
Data server relocation is one of the most important undertakings when it comes to server maintenance. It becomes especially critical in server consolidation or server virtualization projects.
Whether you are planning server relocation for data center expansion, server upgrade, server consolidation, or just looking for a system migration direction – you can use our professional services to ensure everything goes smooth and without any loss of your valuable business data.
Why choose us?
We have vast experience in server relocation projects – making us experts in server equipment packing, transporting, unpacking, and installation at your new site. Our subject matter experts provide end to end solutions from pre-move health checks, data backup to cable tracing in order to meet all your requirements.