Data Center Consolidations & Relocations – A Case Study

November 19, 2019

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Josh Howell, Kovarus, RVP of Solutions & Paul Thompson, Metagyre, Director of Project Services

A major athletic footwear and apparel company had to relocate all their technology systems, applications and data in four months or face tremendous cost overruns from their construction firm who is driving hard on the multi-million-dollar village campus expansion.

To put the project into perspective, this was our client’s primary data center for all of North America, containing business, manufacturing, logistics and retail applications. Additionally, the data center connected to and exchanged data with locations in Europe, Asia Pacific and around the world. This was a large, complex, aggressively scheduled technology project, just the kind of challenge we love to help clients with:

This sports company turned to Kovarus based on our past track record with them, successfully delivering on their most complex projects. For this project we pulled in Metagyre our trusted partner for leading large-scale data center and cloud migrations.

Together the project team collaborated with the client and their engineers, to plan and execute their data center relocation:

  • Month 1:
    • Establish project dashboard, schedule and workflows
    • Obtain a local colocation facility cage space to relocate into
    • Work with senior technology and business leadership to develop guiding principles, high-level approach, budget and schedule
    • Develop technical architecture and detailed infrastructure buildout plans
    • Align all vendors with their role in the plan and ensure conformance to standards
  • Month 2:
    • Establish circuit connectivity for dark fiber, WAN and cloud services
    • Build out the colocation facility cage space
    • Stretch layer-2 networking using dark fiber and DWDM equipment
    • Develop build and cut sheets for physical migrations with application owners
    • Deploy and configure seed gear for network, storage and compute
  • Month 3:
    • Execute virtual migrations and equipment expansion with vacated compute equipment
    • Execute SAN data migration over stretch layer 2
    • Execute physical migrations and testing
    • Execute NAS data migration cutovers
  • Month 4:
    • Punch list cleanup
    • Convert old data center into a network MDF
    • Decommission old data center infrastructure

The ability to “stretch” layer 2 of the network significantly reduced the amount of analysis and down-time required and contributed immensely to the speed of the application migration phase in this heavily virtualized environment. However, as the saying goes “there is no free lunch.” Migrating the layer 2 gateways requires an outage and a good deal of engineering knowledge to automate the process in order to complete the gateway cutover as quickly and effectively as possible. Get the timing wrong and data trombones back and forth needlessly across the wire injecting latency into application and system calls which can lead to customer frustration and endless support issues. Balancing when and how to migrate the gateways requires tracking data traffic patterns and anticipating the moment the scales tip in favor of the new data center.

How did Kovarus know what to do, when to do it and how?

Kovarus and Metagyre have a long track record of delivering large-scale complex technology projects together for clients. We were able to complete this aggressively scheduled data center relocation by having the staff and experienced partners who know how to achieve the impossible. It also helps that we’ve been down this road many times before and developed a guide for driving our client’s projects quickly and quietly to where they want to be.

In the end our client’s senior management was able to meet its commitment to the construction firm avoiding costly fees, penalties and construction delays. More importantly they established a world class data center in a facility that will allow their technology to scale as needed in order to maintain the double-digit business growth in their market.


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