Moving Our Datacenter: An IT Director’s Take

An Interview with Matt Mock, IT Director, GreenPages Technology Solutions

Journey to the Cloud’s Ben Stephenson sat down with GreenPages’ IT Director Matt Mock to discuss GreenPages’ recent datacenter move.

Ben: Why did GreenPages decide to move its datacenter?

Matt: Our current contract was up so we started evaluating new facilities looking for a robust, redundant facility to house our equipment in. We needed a facility to meet specific objectives around our business continuity plan. In addition, we were also looking for cost savings.

Ben: Where did you move the datacenter to and from?

Matt: Geographically, we stayed in a close area. We moved it from Charlestown, MA a couple of miles down the road into downtown Boston. Staying within a close area certainly made the physical move quicker and easier.

Ben: What were the benefits of moving the datacenter?

Matt: Ultimately, we were able to get into an extremely redundant and secure datacenter that provided us with cost savings. Furthermore, the datacenter is also a large carrier hotel which gives us additional savings on circuit costs. With this move we’re able to further our capabilities of delivering to our customers 24/7.

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Ben: Tell us about the process of the move? What had to happen ahead of time to ensure a smooth transition?

Matt: The most important parts were planning, testing, and communication. We put together an extremely detailed plan that broke out every phase of the move down to 15 minute increments. We devised teams for the specific phases that had a communication plan for each team. We also devised a backup emergency plan in the event that we hit any issues the night of the move.

Ben: What happened the night of the move?

Matt: The night of the move we leveraged the excellent facilities at Markley to be able to run a command center that was run by one of our project managers. In the room, we had multiple conference bridges to run the different work streams to ensure smooth and constant communication. We also utilized Huddle, our internal collaboration tool, to communicate as our internal systems were down during the move.

Ben: Anything else you had to factor in?

Matt: Absolutely. The same night of the move we were also changing both voice and data providers at three different locations, which added another layer of complexity. We had to work closely with our new providers to ensure a smooth transition. Because we have a 24/7 Managed Services division at GreenPages, we needed to continue to offer customers the same support during the move that we do on a day-to-day basis.

Ben: Did you experience unexpected events during the move? If so, what were they and how did you handle them?

Matt: With any complex IT project you’re going to experience unexpected events. A couple that we experienced were some hardware failures and unforeseen configuration issues. Fortunately, our detailed plan accounted for these issues, and we were able to address them with the teams on hand and remain on schedule.

Ben: You used an all GreenPages team to accomplish this, right?

Matt: Correct. We did not use any outside vendors for this move – all services were rendered by the GreenPages team. Last time we used outside providers and this time we had a much better experience. I’m in the unique position where I have access to an entire team of project managers and technical resources that made doing this possible. In fact, this is something we offer our customers (from consulting to project management to the actual move) so our team is very, very good at it.

Ben: What advice do you have for other IT Directors who are considering moving their datacenters?

Matt: Detailed planning and constant communication is critical, having a plan in place for every possible scenario, and having an emergency plan ready so that in the middle of the night you’re not scrambling with how to address those unforeseen issues.

Ben: Congratulations on the successful move. See you Monday after the Patriots crush your Steelers.

Would you like to learn more about how GreenPages can help you with your datacenter needs?