In August 2020, CBRE Data Centre Services, (DCS) successfully completed one of its largest physical Data Centre migration programs for a client, running concurrently across three regions. This was the first time a program of this scale and complexity was undertaken and completed by CBRE DCS, primarily relying on internal expertise, and leveraging a “self-delivery” model where it was possible to do so. This project was led by Roland Fenwick, who CBRE would like to put forward as Data Centre Manager of the Year as he went above and beyond in order to deliver this project for the client.
Due to a strategic business separation, our client was obligated to migrate ICT services to new data centre locations within a 2-year period of activity.
A strategic program was therefore initiated to facilitate these requirements and CBRE’s capability and experience was leveraged to support a significant proportion of this global deliverable.
The scope covered a wide range of client platform environments including production, non-production, disaster recovery and development. Over 12,000 individual devices were migrated between 17 different data centre locations during the full program of activity.
As well as the migration activities, legacy devices were also identified and decommissioned. In total the program of activity resulted in approximately 22,000 devices being decommissioned, enabling the target environments to be as efficient as possible in terms of space and power allocation.
This level of complexity required significant planning, overtime and scheduling requirements to manage risk to the client, Roland ensured this planning was conducted thoroughly, and with high quality communication and collaboration with the client.
Prior to any physical migration of services, a new UK Data Centre location had to be identified, and space secured by the Client. Roland was integral to this phase of the strategy, subsequently supporting the buildout of a new facility in the west of London. Running in parallel to this, Roland led a new operational team, which needed to be mobilised and on-boarded to ensure migration and operational support could be facilitated at the new location to the required standards.
For the migration itself, some variations were applied but as standard, all devices moved were live/live moves and critical to the service or support of the Clients business. All devices for the weekend’s migration were shut down on a Friday, moved, powered, and connected to the network prior to market opening hours.
Approximately 65 weekends were committed during the program, with some variances in different countries across EMEA, which was a huge time commitment for Roland.
Resource planning and management took considerable time and effort, and Roland is to be commended on leading his team through this project with no impact to the client schedule. The ability to facilitate a programme of this size and scale over such a pro-longed period required the utmost consideration to the personnel undertaking the work. Roland effectively ensured that work life balance and wellness for his staff was maintained whilst fulfilling contractual support obligations to the Client.
Planning and Commencement
• EMEA, planning commenced in Nov 2018, with the Physical movement of equipment initiating in February 2019.
• Final work concluded early 2020.
Leveraging operational resource, the programme was closely co-ordinated by Roland with key Client stakeholders and Client sub-contracted service providers.
To facilitate the effective management of the deliverables, key personnel were appointed to take responsibility for certain co-ordination or management activities. This was underpinned by the whole of the CBRE ICT Services team throughout the duration of work activities.
Roland, leading the project, co-ordinated with the Client stakeholders to ensure continuity of reporting and escalation management.
Roland also maintained relationships with our Supply Chain partners to bring supplementary services and added value to the client and facilitate the programmes deliverables. He coordinated the below:
• Anixter was the supplier chosen to facilitate the Cabinet and Infrastructure within the target data centres. In addition, CURRAN were used for Phase 1 CAC and Infrastructure installation and bespoke CAC for free standing devices.
• BBNS were utilized for Phase 2 & 3 installation of the CAC & Infrastructure.
• Network Centre, Corning provided the manufacture and design assistance for copper and fibre infrastructure.
• Panduit were the CAC design provider and cabinet manufacturer.
• JJR were utilized for the shipping related requirements of all devices between the UK sites and Connectium provided additional labour to support large move preparation and implementation.
The main challenge was the fast-paced movement of the deliverables and the deadlines that had to be met to maintain key milestone dates. Such an approach required rigorous co-ordination, co-operation and review across all phases of Change activity, all of which Roland managed with efficiency and consideration for the client.
Roland also provided advice and consultation against the target Capacity management-based considerations. This engagement mitigated any risk of the target whitespace not being able to accommodate the required hardware subject to migration.
During the middle of the migration programme, COVID-19 presented a very clear risk to the continuity of the scheduling.
As the migrations were not all Client owned facilities, Roland needed to establish effective and prompt assurances from Colocation providers to ensure continuity of the programme and its milestone deliverables. Different providers operating in different geographical locations in EMEA resulting in a dynamic and unique situation with variations depending on the COVID status.
We also had to ensure that Government and localised restrictions were understood and effectively adhered too such as PPE, Key Worker exceptions, Permission to Travel and Social Distancing obligations. Any migration has a dependency on minimum number of persons to facilitate a movement so QHSE considerations had to align also.
Pro-active measures taken by Roland and his team, ensured that we had visibility on all potential risks and the ability to address them promptly.
Through this engagement and effective communication process, the potential risk posed to the client programme was mitigated.
A program of this type requires the full commitment from the team as a whole and all personnel that have supported to their fullest capability.
However, Roland Fenwick, Operations Manager has successfully led and delivered this significant accomplishment to the highest of standards, including:
• Support in the site selection process
• Design and Build out of new whitespace in preparation for the migrated platforms
• Recruitment and onboarding of a new operational team to support the migration and in-life operational support requirements.
• Provided the Client with a single point of contact for all EMEA based program activities.
• Effective COVID mitigation planning
• Roland successfully oversaw all program activity during the period and was physically engaged in the relocation work at the target sites, working many weekend shifts to enable the commitment to timescales.
Uptime and Service was always maintained during the migration period.
• Physical Cabinet footprint was significantly reduced due to P2V migrations with an original power density of 4.2MW condensed to 1.5MW at the end of the Program.
• Supported the dilapidation works of the legacy Data Centre and successfully supported Network isolation by the given deadline.
• Post migration support activities facilitated