Moving On, travelling light . . . ?

Well, today is the last day that IT Services will be in St Andrew Street. Tomorrow, we move down to the main Garthdee Campus of the Robert Gordon University. The last 12 months have been an exceptionally busy time for us as we have been fitting out new buildings and helping to move many other Departments in the University. Not to mention two datacentre moves into the bargain! And then of course, we have all the work to reconfigure the University’s voice and data network so that we can “unplug” the St Andrew Street Building.

I’ll be downsizing too – I think my new office is quite a bit smaller than my existing one. That said, it was interesting going through my filing cabinets, desk and cupboards. With very little hesitation I emptied more than 50% of the contents into two confidential waste bags for secure disposal. The rest I fitted into two cardboard boxes (for files) and two blue boxes (books, photos, memorabilia and some IT stuff). Clearly over the last decade there’s been a huge shift away from paper to electronic and you see that manifesting itself when you have so little physical belongings to move. When I get down to Garthdee at least one of the boxes is earmarked for further pruning, and hopefully shredding!

office

Next blog post will be from Garthdee, meantime I’m off to a cake cutting ceremony!

cake

Goodbye St Andrew Street!

Moving a data centre from one location to another without disrupting the organisation is a major undertaking. We moved one data centre to a shared facility with the University of Aberdeen and North East Scotland College last year successfully, and on the weekend of 24th / 25th May we moved our second data centre from St Andrew Street down to a new purpose built facility on our Garthdee Campus. This one will also be shared with the University of Aberdeen and North East Scotland College.

The St Andrew Street building has been the University’s IT hub pretty much since IT began. When the national JANET network came into being, its main entry point was into St Andrew Street, and for many years the University’s main computer room was there, with network links to the rest of the Campus. The St Andrew Street building will be sold at the end of June, and this data centre move is part of a wider set of tasks to decommission the whole building. This has involved re-routing our external fibre connections (sorry about the roadworks!), and significant changes to the University’s overall Campus network so that we can unplug St Andrew St.

Down at Garthdee, there was construction work to build the new data centre, and this also involved significant changes to the Campus network at Garthdee so that the new data centre was connected into our network. All this work has been going on quietly over the past several months stage by stage.

Prior to the weekend of 24th / 25th of May, all of our critical systems had to be switched so that they were running fully from the North East Shared Data centre at the University of Aberdeen. That allowed the IT team over the weekend in May to shut everything down at St Andrew Street, move it down the road, and bring it back up again without any disruption. Once everything was up and running, critical services had to be rebalanced to run across the two data centres.

The School of Computing and Digital Media also had to move their servers from St Andrew Street down to the new data centre and they had completed their physical moves ahead of the 24th and 25th of May.

In a couple of weeks, the three remaining University departments will leave the St Andrew Street building for ever. Once they are gone, IT Engineers will disconnect the building and decommission the internal networks – that truly will represent the end of an era for us, but we are looking forward to moving down to Garthdee!

Here is the St Andrew Street Data centre before the move:
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And here it is looking pretty empty after everything was moved down to Garthdee:
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And here is the new datacenter down at Garthdee:
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