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  #1  
Old 02-17-2007, 10:36 PM
Zitibake Zitibake is offline
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Default server ship-in/ship-out procedure

Some of you are in markets where most of your servers are shipped in and racked by you. Can you share any tips on how to make the ship-in/ship-out process tolerable? There are way too many things lost or damaged in shipping these days, and the liability to the datacenter of participating in the shipment process seems to be very high unless it is very well-managed.
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Old 02-28-2007, 03:33 PM
Rmgill Rmgill is offline
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One of my friends ships a lot of servers.
They kept having failures and decided to conduct their own tests. So they dropped servers to see what was failing so they could get a better idea of how to respond to it.
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Old 03-01-2007, 05:12 PM
cernst cernst is offline
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I am in the finishing stages of a data center migration...three datacenters boiled down to two.

When it was possible, we used boxes that were made for the model of servers. Dells were the prodominent server, so we used and re-used dell boxes. out of 250+ servers, we had about 10 failures...one catastrophic.

We did have some damage that could be fixed. These were mostly damage to the front bezel...which was thrown away. Due to the person packing, we also had quite a number of rail pieces (the part that screws to the server) that were not removed before shipping. This resulted in them being bent inward enroute.

Loss of screws were an issue. This was later remedied by using envelopes that had metal fold-over tabs.

two of the servers were damaged enough we had to make a claim with FedEx. Since the servers were damaged by the courier, FedEx...or their insurance provider possibly...paid for the replacement.

At the start of the migration, it was thought it was a great idea to ship servers with packing where you spray a foam into a bag that form-fits the server. This might be fine for the first shipment...but once the bag gets a hole in it...particles may come out and enter the server.
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Old 03-03-2007, 12:41 AM
Zitibake Zitibake is offline
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I'm looking at it from a colocated hosting point-of-view. For example, a customer was located out-of-state, and wanted their corporate Exchange server pulled from their cabinet, boxed and fedexed overnight to another site, where they intended to have it rack-mounted and running again, with a goal of less than 20 hours' down-time. Now, I'll happily do just about anything on a time+materials basis, but the chances for finger-pointing get pretty high when somebody's corporate mail spool is bouncing around the back of a truck.

Their job ended happily, although a CMOS battery had worked-loose in shipping and caused several hours of finger-pointing until the problem was found ("it worked fine when we packed it" vs. "it wouldn't boot when we opened it").

I'm considering telling customers to use a 3rd party vendor to pull and ship their servers (e.g. IBM Global Services), to make sure I don't get caught in the middle when customer equipment gets damaged in shipping. These are often customers I need to continue to do business with, and I need to be sure the inevitable damaged shipment doesn't sour a business relationship.
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:19 PM
yourcologuru yourcologuru is offline
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In my experience it has been best to not be involved in the shipping part of this process. Normally I've told clients in the past to hire ups or another company to pack and ship their equipment. This takes the liability off the DC.
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Old 03-08-2007, 02:26 AM
Zitibake Zitibake is offline
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That's what I was thinking. But since UPS will not visit the datacenter with a screw-driver and pull a server out of the rack, I guess I need to find a services organization who will do that and take care of the shipping.
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Old 03-17-2007, 09:40 PM
RezInfiniteMicro RezInfiniteMicro is offline
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Although we don't do any migration services for clients, we do a lot of removals from data centers. We partner up with UPS Supply Chain (formerly Menlo) for the asset recovery process. A project manager and team member will go onsite and de-install server equipment. They will then stack the servers w/bubble wrap and foam cushioning in between each server on a pallet. Use banding to ensure no shifting occurs, and then finally bubble wrap on the outside of the pallet, followed by black shrink wrap. We have found that when we pack the servers and they come to one of our audit/processing facilities, the failure rate is less than 1 percent. There are companies out there that move servers. I recommend using data center specific companies rather than local moving companies.

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Old 03-17-2007, 11:10 PM
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KenB KenB is offline
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An excellent tip! Thanks, Rez.

Ken
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