How to safely relocate your SAN

This tip details how to perform a smooth SAN relocation, saving everyone involved a great amount of time and aggravation.

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What you will learn from this tip: Advice on how to perform a smooth SAN relocation, saving everyone involved a great amount of time and aggravation.

Relocating an office often means moving a SAN. While moving a SAN has a lot in common with installing a SAN in the first place, there are some special considerations that will help the move go smoothly.

Update your documentation
Make sure your SAN's documentation is current and accurate. This includes not just having copies of all the vendor documentation, but a complete and accurate configuration file, detailing your topology, firmware versions and other material.

Upgrade first
If at all possible, make any upgrades to your SAN before the move. While it's tempting to combine moving and hardware and software upgrades to reduce downtime, it adds another area of uncertainty if things don't work right at the new location.

Related information

Bass-ackwards storage architecture and five steps to prevent it, part one

Migrating from DAS to a SAN

Storage Smarts Quiz: SAN

If you can't upgrade before the move, try to delay the upgrade until you have the SAN installed and working in its new home.

Carefully inspect your SAN's new home
There is no substitute for a careful physical inspection of your SAN's new quarters.

Take measurements to be sure that there is enough space allocated for your SAN, including adequate stand-offs from walls to allow air circulation and access to the rear of equipment for maintenance. Also be sure that your cables are long enough.

Make sure there is adequate physical security both for the SAN and for any on-site backups you will be making.

Ideally, this should be done far enough in advance of the move that there will be time for corrective action if needed.

Label everything
All the cables, devices and connectors should be clearly labeled using a consistent system before you take things apart. The labels don't have to be fancy or permanent -- color-coded paper file folder labels with information written on them in felt-tip pen and wrapped around cables will work. But you want to be able to tell at a glance what you're looking at.

Make sure the power protection is working
There's a great temptation to install the SAN first and then add the power protection. Doing it that way is asking for trouble. Until the power protection devices are installed and functioning the SAN isn't ready to move.

Handle with care
Disk arrays and other components should be protected from shock and rough handling during the move.

For more information:

Checklist: How to design a scalable SAN


About the author: Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80 K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last 20 years, he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.


This was first published in November 2005

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