Monthly Archives: November 2016

Data Center & Server Relocation Planning and Execution

Until recently, most companies considered data center relocation to be a once in a lifetime event. As infrastructure demands and technology advances continue to expand, current forecasts predict 3-5 moves, with 53% percent of companies expecting to do so within the next few years. What is your company blueprint for a successful data center and server relocation planning and execution?

Data center movers and server movers have experience in the complexities required for a successful relocation. Working hand in hand with your IT team ensures a minimum of down-time, as well as maximizing performance before, during, and after the move. Selecting a partner with the knowledge of the intricacies encountered during a move can make the difference between a smooth transition and a potential nightmare.
Comprehensive Planning

Proper planning is crucial for companies that are planning to relocate their data centers and servers. Team coordination, both within the company, as well as with the data center movers and server movers who have been chosen to perform the move, is essential for a successful data center relocation, as illustrated by mistakes that plagued the State of Oregon relocation.

Hoping to upgrade and move their data bases into a single facility, the state spent $20 million building a new site, and finished the move of 11 of the projected 12 agencies into their new facility, at a cost of $43 million. Unfortunately, the 55-watt per square foot did not meet the requirements of the Department of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, forcing them to return to the original site. Data security concerns kept the Department of Education from ever moving into the new facility. Other issues were also noted, including the lack of a solid disaster-recovery plan.

Protecting your company from similar issues and meeting the strategic objectives that precipitated the move will make the difference between a smooth successful transition, and one that is not. Proper planning is essential, and is greatly impacted by the team you choose for your data center relocation.

Wiring, space, and cooling capacity are just a few of the issues that must be addressed when addressing hardware issues pertaining to a data center relocation. Although this may seem to be the ideal time to implement upgrades, many experts recommend implementing them slowly, especially when they pertain to software.

Strategic long-term planning should be the first step. Moore’s Law, which he stated in 1965, predicted essentially that computer technology would double every two years. This rule has basically held true, however it is currently projected to double approximately every 12-18 months. This translates into the need to forecast possible upgrades sooner than in the past. Since your company is expecting to move, this is a great time to address the issue, and create a long-range plan.

Data Center and Server Relocation planning and execution relies heavily on the skills of professional server movers and data movers working alongside the IT team to perform a seamless transition with a minimum of downtime.

The Key to Success

The key element to a successful data center relocation project is choosing the correct team coordinator. Most companies do not have someone with this experience on staff, as it is a specialized industry, with unique challenges. Selecting an internal coordinator to work with the data center movers and server movers is also key to a successful relocation project.

The external coordinator you choose must be able to provide an adaptive plan, based on your company’s individual needs and resources. Their role will include creating a timeline and milestones for the move, pre-planning, and identifying risks and impact of the move. Additionally, they will create an execution plan that includes shut-down times, wiring requirements for the new location, cooling requirements, as well as many other often-overlooked crucial items.

Data Center Relocation Planning Documentation

The required documentation should provide a detailed overview of the plan. Items that should be listed include:

  • A comprehensively organized and detailed list, including diagrams of everything currently in use. Hardware, software, wiring, inventory lists, application dependencies, support processes, and interactions should all be thoroughly documented. This provides an opportunity to determine what should be retained and what should be replaced. Although this appears to be the best time to physically replace outdated technology, there are a few reasons not to do so. More on that later.
  • Envision your ideal working environment. Anticipate which processes will make the relocation successful. Documentation at this stage will include details of the move, whether servers will require updates, changes in virtualization, and upgrades.
  • A relocation blueprint should be developed at stage three that will detail the process of advancing from where your company currently stands to where you want to be in the future. Budgeting, prerequisites, detailed shut-down and restart timelines, identification of known risks, creation of a contingency plan, and a statement of impact for the client are a few of the items that should be included in the blueprint.
  • The coordinator should include a detailed implementation plan. At this point, each department will have been interviewed in order to identify and rate the processes used, and their order of importance. It is essential to conduct the relocation with a minimum of negative impact, including down-time. An hourly schedule that outlines what will be shut down and moved during relocation will alleviate inconvenience and concerns that employees may have regarding the move.
  • It may seem obvious, but hiring a team that has a crew of sufficient size to actually physically perform the move is imperative for success. Logistics specialists who have the experience required to to identify, pack, relocate, unpack, and setup the system is a crucial. This team must include skilled technicians who are able to properly reinstall the system.
  • Don’t underestimate the complexity of the move. Your company will most likely need to provide internal specialists to a certain degree, as they know your software and environment. The amount of help you hire can vary depending on individual needs. Discuss this with the vendor when choosing server movers and data center movers.
  • Put together a strong in-house group of trusted staff to work with the professionals. This team should include not only IT, but also management. It is important for everyone to be on board and to fully understand all the aspects and potential impact of the move.

While the above plan may make a data center relocation seem relatively simple and to the point, there are pitfalls that can plague even the best plan. Pinpointing potential problems before they occur can help reduce the problems your team will encounter. While each relocation and situation is individually tailored, it is a good idea to identify pitfalls.

Problems Data Center Movers and Server Movers Want You to Avoid

  1. Although this problem is easily avoided, Poor Planning tops the list. One of the most important functions the team can perform is communication. By talking to the IT department, the relocation team can learn about the inter-dependencies that occur within the company network. This will alleviate accidental shutdowns on moving day, and get everything up and running again in the correct order. Double-checking the hardware lists, and correctly estimating server requirements and hardware is equally important to a successful move.
  2. As shown in the State of Oregon fiasco, wiring and electrical demands are crucial. Obtain a realistic figure of the amount of electricity currently consumed, as well as what the upgrades require. IT may not be the department with these figures. Costs often exceed what is projected in this area. It is essential to have real figures. This is also a time to scrutinize whether the relocation property will be purchased or leased, and who is responsible for future wiring upgrades if they are required.
  3. Identify your current baseline costs and operation prior to the move. In this way, you will have a point of comparison for the future. This can negate many internal problems after a move.
  4. Many specialists believe they encountered fewer problems by upgrading after the move. If everything is in place for a planned upgrade, but the system is delayed until after the relocation, users are able to retain continuity in their work. There are exceptions to this however, including networking gear, and re-IP, as they do not have a great impact on the software and easier to perform during the move.
  5. Choose and experienced professional for the move. Each department is specialized, and while you may assume IT fully understand the system, they may not have all the knowledge required to successful move and reinstall it.

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you are more likely to create a smooth transition. Planning for future expansion should be considered prior to the move.

Cooling Processors

With today’s high speed processors, proper cooling is essential. Whether you are building a new facility or leasing space, project managers need to assess the cooling capacity and compare them to what is required for your equipment. Identify a member of the team to thoroughly research and be responsible for this portion of the move. Cooling costs can be a notable portion of the day-to-day operation expenses, but without adequate cooling, the entire operation can be at risk.

The Nuts and Bolts Required of Server Movers

While there is an irony to physically moving a virtual machine, it is very important too do so correctly. Professional server movers know the importance of the machinery, and that it must be transported with care. Yes, there are people/movers who throw it on a flatbed, break rack legs, or just set it in the building and walk away; so we must be mindful of this.

Once your company has reached this point, in-house IT and the server movers your company has hired are probably on a first name basis. Specify someone from each team to address the following points, to alleviate problems with the move.

  • Cables that lead to nowhere are often left on servers over the years. Well prior to the move, ask IT to identify and remove any unnecessary cables. This will simplify and speed up the process on moving day.
  • Check with the team in charge of efficiency prior to moving, to ensure that all cooling, power, and space issues are aligned with any planned changes.
  • Check dependencies using the configuration design software that was used to setup the system, prior to removing anything.
  • Label, chart, and diagram everything. Each piece of equipment and every cable must be reinserted into the correct slot in order to work after the move. Keep the diagram and list in a safe place.
  • Mirror power requirements when changing cabinets.
  • List the exact location piece of equipment within the cabinet.
  • Mounting rails should be labeled. Hardware can thus be labeled with corresponding rails to ensure exact placement after the move.
  • Use a certified infrastructure handling solution specifically designed for data centers to remove equipment from racks.
  • Only move empty racks and cupboards. This prevents damage to the rack as well as to invaluable server equipment.
  • Clean and repair everything prior to reloading the racks.

Take the time to do it right. Moving full racks and cabinets can be a disaster, leading to excess downtime, and the extra cost cost required to replace damaged equipment. At this stage of the game you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but don’t take shortcuts. This is the event that everyone has been waiting for and you want it to be a success.

The final step for server movers is recommissioning and testing the equipment to ensure it is all operating as smoothly as it was prior to relocation.
Expectation Checklist for Data Center Movers

Although they are technically two different projects, coordinating your data center movers and server movers will help ensure a smooth data center relocation project. Just as with changing software systems, this is not the time to cleanse the data base. We suggest doing so either well before relocation, or after everything is reinstalled, up and running well. The following checklist provides a short overview of issues and expectations that should be addressed by the team.

  1. While the physical relocation of hardware often seems to be the primary focus in a relocation project, the database is the crux of most companies. It is crucial to not overlook the data, and to plan for its move. Whether your company assigns ownership of databases to individual teams, or considers it as a whole, it remains an interconnected system. Application interaction after relocation is a consideration point, as well as identifying what data access may be affected by the move.
  2. While data center and server relocation can go hand-in-hand, this is a major project that will ideally be tackled on its own. Tacking on additional changes, i.e., tiered storage, etc., can add significantly to the cost and increase downtime.
  3. Brainstorm with colleagues, IT, and the data center movers to create contingency plan and worst case scenarios. With proper planning, they should not be a problem, but identifying them and addressing concerns in advance, can make the difference between a successful relocation and a disaster.
  4. Inventory, document, and diagram everything possible. The loss of records, even if they are short-term can have a devastating impact on a company. Negative ramifications resulting from lost databases can wreak havoc on orders, potentially leading to customer loss, and a negative impact on your financial base.

Tips for Successful Data Center and Server Relocation Planning and Execution

There will be down time during the execution of the data center and server relocation. As illustrated above, a well laid out plan is invaluable for a successful transition. The process can seem overwhelming, but with proper planning, it can also run smoothly.

We have identified a few tips that can be beneficial when planning to relocate your server and/or data center.

  • Begin with a standard plan. While all moves must be customized, based on the needs of your company, there are standard best practices that will make relocation easier. Professional data center movers and server movers know these plans and are able to adapt them to your unique circumstances.
  • Contact clients a few weeks prior to relocation with a projected downtime so they are not frustrated when attempting to contact you during the relocation.
  • Plan your move well in advance. Depending on the size of your operation and what is being relocated, the entire project may take a minimum of several months.
  • Don’t overload your current staff. IT may well have their hands full maintaining the current system, and they are often required to be on call to consult with the movers as well. Take time to discuss the importance of their role and to arrange a convenient time for them to work with the movers.
  • Plan around application managers. Development and applications will come to a standstill during the back end move, and they will require adequate advance notice and a timeline.
  • Address issues your company may have experienced during a previous move. Discuss concerns and create a contingency plan if there are fears that the experience may be repeated.
  • Set current baselines as a point of comparison for after the relocation.
  • Plan down to the hour, if not in smaller increments.
  • Discuss who will be responsible for anything that must be replaced and if the movers have parts on hand. These items can be as minor as screws or cables.

Execution of the Plan

Once moving day has arrived, it is time to begin the process of tearing down, transporting, and setting everything back up. Experienced data center movers and server movers will employ a proven methodology to do perform relocation in a timely manner. You should be able to expect:

  1. Technicians who are experienced in every aspect and detail of the move. They should have copies of the timelines and diagrams.
  2. Packing materials and trucks designed to transport without damaging hardware.
  3. Communication as required throughout the move.
  4. The project manager should be on hand to oversee the entire project as well as addressing any concerns.

Designate someone to sign-off once the move has been successfully achieved.

Communication is crucial to data center and server relocation planning and execution. Choose movers who have experience and who you can trust. They will become an integral part of your team before and during the move.

What Matters When Hiring 3D Scanning Services?

3D scanning has proved to be very beneficial to various processes in different fields. The accuracy and precision offered by the technology has not only ensured that only top quality results are achieved in different projects, but has also reduced costs in the processes making it a great option especially for designers and manufacturers. 3D scanners can be attained and used, but if you are not very familiar with the process, especially when dealing with complex projects, it is best that you let the experts come to your aid in achieving your desired results.

There are so many companies offering 3D scanning services today. Because of how serious the scans can be, especially in determining quality and accuracy in any given project, you should ensure that you select a service provider who has what it takes to even deliver beyond your expectations. There are factors that you can never ignore when hiring the services if at all you are to enjoy a rewarding process for your project.

The 3D scanning services offered

What you should remember when looking for a service provider for your 3D project is that some primarily focus on specific areas. This means that you might find a company that offers rapid prototyping 3D services only whereas another might offer services that are only related to the entertainment industry. Whereas this may be good when you have a specific one time project, a provider who can attend to the diverse 3D scanning needs is always better placed. The more the services the company can offer then the more skilled and knowledgeable it is going to be and you know you can expect only the best results. If you handle different projects, then you are also best placed going for a modeler who can handle practically any type of 3D scan needed.

The tools of trade

What 3D systems does your service provider use and how reliable are they with your kind of project? 3D scanning requires lots of control and this could mean different equipment is needed to get the job done. When hiring the services, just ensure that the company you choose has what it takes to get the job done accurately. The number of services or projects it offers or handled before can go a long way in telling you how well-equipped and reliable it is in delivering your desired results.

The turnaround time in projects

Some 3D scanning projects can be more complex than others. However, a service provider who is adequately staffed and equipped will always take minimal time to fetch you the desired results from the scans. If you are working on a tight schedule with your 3D production, then you need to be sure that your service provider can actually meet the time deadlines. If you get a chance, always sit down with the 3D scanning expert and talk your project over so you know beforehand how long it will take to get it completed and how convenient that will be for you.

Important Tips To Improve Photogrammetry Scanning Quality

Photogrammetry can simply be defined as the measurement of photographs. It is a process that largely depends on camera positioning around the given subject and light control to create high resolution details of skin and clothing. The scanning can be used for capturing data for various projects including face replacements and CG characters. With so many variables to control, photogrammetry scanning can be overwhelming. There is just too much trial and errors involved to achieve best practices but with a few helpful tips, it is very possible to achieve accuracy and top quality with the process.

Tip 1 – Think about overlapping coverage. When building your setup, you should use as many cameras as possible so you are able to reduce or minimize manual cleanup later. Enough coverage translates into very decent recreation and you will also rarely miss any information when you use enough cameras so manual cleanup is very minimal.

Tip 2 – Put in measures to minimize distortions. When there are distortions, it is given that your system will have issues aligning the images. The fact is that most Photogrammetry systems come with a lens that helps reduce images, but it is always a much better choice to try and minimize it in-camera. Use tools that match with the camera format that you are using to get the best results every time.

Tip 3 – Mask out the background to dramatically improve overall quality of generated mesh and post processing time. It is a process that can be time consuming, especially when you need to go through every single picture but it pays off in the end. If manual masking is something you would rather avoid, then you can use systems that offer automatic masking feature to achieve a clean background. It also helps to tie cables together and eliminating any junk from the frame, especially when using a camera rig.

Tip 4 – Focus on more resolution when operating. You can use as much as necessary from your sensor because the more the resolution you can achieve then the more detailed your mesh is going to be. Try every way not to waste a single pixel if you can actually use it for quality benefits.

Tip 5 – Remember that lighting remains key in all kinds of photography. To increase depth of filed and eliminate photo noise, keep your aperture small and ISO as low as you can. But because doing so will definitely decrease amount of light that you get to work with, ensure that you have other light sources to substitute. Consider using flashes over continuous lighting that are less efficient, less color accurate and expensive for that matter. Flashes keep talent comfortable and enough lit unlike continuous lights that can produce heat leaving enclosed rig hot.

Tip 6 – Pay attention to photo orientation. It is factor that plays a huge role in accuracy of projects and it needs to be accurate for every camera position. Increase number of well-positioned points to improve orientation quality. These points should take up a greater percentage of photograph area.

6 Top Areas of 3D Scanning Benefits

3D scanning process has proved to be very beneficial in capturing the exact measurements and shape of any given object. It is a technology that has eased production processes in all fields and more people are now embracing the benefits of this sought of scanning where total accuracy of details on an object is needed. It is a process that has actually reduced manufacturing costs and yet offers higher quality parts in the end. Below are some of the top areas the 3D scanning benefits.

1. Prototype

This process can be applied to prototype phase in different kinds of ways, but the major use is to reduce design cycles needed in the prototyping. When 3D scans are used in designing a part, the accurate data makes it possible to utilize precise measurements of the physical product reducing the process by a huge percentage. The scanning is also combined with prototyping so that physical objects are scaled accurately.

2. Design

It is among the areas that have greatly benefited from 3D scanning. They scans are applied starting with physical object and then using this to create a CAD model. Mating parts are also scanned and then incorporated into a given design so the end result is better fitting parts that are consistent. This process is known as reverse engineering or modeling and when utilized, new designs are improved and incorporated for engineering optimization of manufactured part.

3. Production

In production, the scanning is used to capture tooling or parts changes which occur in the production phase. Usually hand tuning is needed in tooling to get the desired finish and look of a given part. When 3D comes into the picture, the optimizations and hand modifications are easy to transfer from tool to tool so all parts manufactured match after the production ends. The scans also help in analyzing and characterizing tool wear during the production; this is very helpful in correcting tool failure or eliminating the same before it is too late. It is actually very possible to recreate optimized part using a 3D scan.

4. Engineering

3D scan data makes it possible for physical objects to be translated into the engineering phase of projects directly. The data offer flexibility in performing FEA, CAE, CFD and other analysis that is necessary in the engineering area on objects manufactured and physically modified. The process offers a simple way of achieving accuracy.

5. Quality control

Using 3D scanning, it has become possible to analyze built condition of parts after manufacturing. This non-contact technology offers a quick way of inspecting overalls size and shape of the parts and detecting issues that could affect performance of the parts. When combined with statistical analysis software, 3D scanning helps maintain and predict the quality of parts in the manufacturing phase.

6. Distribution

It might sound unrealistic, but 3D scanning comes handy in vision systems used in distribution and shipping centers to sort and track packages. The scanning certifies the integrity of products before and after shipping. It is a

3D Scanning – What You Need To Know

3D scanning is a process of capturing digital information of object shape using equipment that has light or laser to measure distance between the object and the scanner. The non-destructive and non-contact scanning technology uses lines of laser light capturing the exact shape and size of the object. The fine details of even the smallest objects are captured and the process comes in handy in so many industries and fields. Some the areas that 3D scans are commonly used include automotive, manufacturing, medical and aerospace.

3D laser scanners capture thousands of points per second, allowing quick inspection of parts. It is a process that is ideally suited for measuring and inspecting contoured surfaces and also complex geometries that require lots of data for accurate description and where traditional measurement methods are impractical.

What are the advantages?

3D scanning has become very popular among business people in different fields. You can now easily find 3D scanning services for all needs you might have especially as far as accuracy and high quality productions are concerned. The popularity of the process is as a result of the many advantages it has over other traditional options. Some of the advantages that come with the process include:

1. Quick capture of all physical measurements of any given physical object; with 3D scanning, the size of the object does not matter.

2. Saves time when designing. The high definition details of objects make it possible for designers get it right with the first trail, hence saving time, even with productions that would have otherwise proved to be complex and time consuming.

3. Ensures perfect fit of parts with the first try. 3D has literally taken the guess work of production processes, especially for those dealing with prototypes and creating parts. The detailed information collected from an object is accurate and hence it is very rare to have parts that have any functional defects.

4. It captures engineering optimization that is necessary in manufactured parts. The process offers more confident to manufacturers in terms of meeting standards and any set objectives in the manufacturing process of parts. Using the scans, it has become even possible for manufacturers and designed to compare between designed and built models conditions so manufactured parts are top quality.

How does it help the design process?

3D scans are largely used in the design process of various products. Model scanning proves beneficial in the design process because:

· It increases effectiveness when working with shapes and parts that are complex

· It provides updated versions of CAD models that are outdated

· It makes it possible to replace missing parts or older parts

· It helps product designing so that someone else’s part can be accommodated

Which areas can in be used in?

3D scanning is very effective and has become a popular option in various fields including:

· Historical artifacts

· Prototyping or reverse engineering

· Entertainment industry for games, TV and movie productions

· Medical and dental

· Inspection

· Marine

· Construction and architecture