Live Blog: Moving a System i cross-city: Dos and Dont’s Before Loading the Truck

We’re in the middle of moving a System i box cross-city this morning. While things are going smoothly, here are some additional dos and don’t we ran into when preparing the machine to move. If you’re transporting a machine to another location, check off on these issues before moving.

1. The IBM System i cabinet has locking wheels and a stabilizer to insure the cabinet doesn’t fall over. To unlock/lower the wheels takes a special large wrench. To remove the stabilizer also takes a special hex wrench. We had trouble locating our wrenches before starting and had to dig them out before moving the box, slowing the process down. Recommendation: a good practice is to store these wrenches in the system cabinet so they are handy when you’re ready to move.

2. Best practices are to back up your machine before moving, in case the machine is damaged in transit. Our schedule consisted of a full system back-up, followed by IBM wrapping up and certifying the machine, and then the movers coming in to take it away. Our backup took an extra 40 minutes beyond what was scheduled, but we should still be able to finish wrapping up before the movers come. Recommendation: however long you think your pre-move backup will take, add an hour as a buffer. That way, you won’t mess up the schedule you’ve set up for the move.

3. The IBM tech found there were still tapes in the cabinet’s tape drive, including the pre-move system backup tape for one of our partitions. Best practices say that all tapes should be removed from a machine before shipping. If you ship your restore tapes along with the machine, you risk losing them if there’s an accident that damages the machine. Recommendation: Remove your tapes from the tape drive before shipment and transport them via separate means.

4. The IBM tech will be wrapping up the machine and then we have to move it over a carpeted area between the corporate computer room and the warehouse dock. The cabinet weighs several hundred pounds, and that weight causes it to sink in the carpeting, making it extremely difficult to push. Recommendation: tell the moving company if you are moving the machine over carpeting. They can bring plastic runners that can be placed in front of the machine to make it easier to move.

5. Since we’re moving in the middle of the night, there is no staff in the warehouse to open the dock doors and help load the machine. We also had seven inches of snow yesterday. Recommendation: Get with building maintenance and make sure that any environmental actions (such as clearing the parking lot) will be taken care of, if necessary. Also talk to your shipping department and make sure that you or someone else will be there who knows how to open the loading dock doors and connect the loading ramp to the moving truck.

6. In moving, you’ll be removing all network cables, phone lines, T1s, etc. and then re-attaching them at the new location. Recommendation: label your machine ports as to what partition/function they serve. Create a machine map that tells you where each external cable should be plugged into at the new location. While you’re at it, label the cables themselves as to what function they serve. You’ll be glad you did this.

7. Make sure your staff is physically ready for the move. You’ll be working in the middle of the night and don’t want to mistakes based on fatigue. In our case, the backup, disassembly, move, re-assembly, and testing will take 12-14 hours. Myself and my master technician Scott are breaking the move into three distinct sections where one person will be on site while the other is at home sleeping. This should help us keep (somewhat) fresh. We’re also keeping caffeinated. Recommendation: break the work down into shifts and provide enough energy drinks and food to keep the staff sharp in a low sleep situation.

More after we load the truck and get to the unloading/re-assembly phase.

Live from outside Chicago…Joe

About Joe Hertvik

Joe is the owner of Hertvik Business Services, a service company providing written white papers, case studies, and other marketing content to computer industry companies. He is also a contributing editor for IT Jungle and has written the Admin Alert column for the past ten years. Follow Joe Hertvik on Twitter @JoeHertvik. Email Joe for a free quote on white papers, case studies, brochures, or other marketing materials.
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