Over 16 years ago, a company in Ohio that developed the worlds largest chemical database was struggling to untangle a very densely populated data center that was out of space, power and cooling. They knew they needed to move to a new Data Center, but were struggling to develop a safe plan that would minimize risk and downtime. In the IT industry there was no formerly documented method or approach to sifting through the multiple business dependencies and technical criteria needed to organize a process to relocate this equipment into a new fac ility.
Altus Technologies Corporation along with IBM were contracted to assist this customer in this detail planning effort. In using an analogy of spaghetti, how do you pick up one “noodle” without all the other noodles sticking together at once? This is very close to the need to understand the application, technical and physical dependencies. Without a method to untangle these dependencies, the project could not begin properly.
The Move Element
Being among scientists in the chemical community, the idea of atoms and chemical “elements” were near to the team’s minds. What is the smallest unit we could break a data center move into? The answer was “The Move Element”. By applying some rules and planning assumptions – along with detail technical and application dependency information – each “Move Element” could be defined. This allowed discrete planning, management and sequencing to break the work of a large data center move into logical, manageable parts.
After applying this method and defining over 100 Move Elements, planning was able to be performed on each Move Element and allowed the project team to schedule the them across 11 separate “Move Events” (a planned and scheduled time for relocations). This method enabled the chemical database company to successfully relocate over 1200 systems to a new facility while managing the risk, timeline and budget.
The Altus Method Adopted by IBM, HP and EMC.
Since then, this method (The Altus Method) has been adopted by IBM, HP and EMC as the familiar 3-Phase approach to relocation. Altus has continued to refine and enhance this method over time and has built tools and templates that provide the very best technique to maximize success and minimize risk in the large and complex task of data center migration.