Relocating a hospital’s Data Centre and ensuring that an organization’s critical business functions will continue uninterrupted involves a lot of planning, research and time. At The Salvation Army Toronto Grace Health Centre (TGHC), this became a major enterprise for Tsering, Manager of IS, and Laszlo, Technical Analyst – our two man IT department.
In March 2014 the TGHC moved patients and staff temporarily to the UHN’s Hillcrest site for the duration of the Infrastructure Renewal Project. Prior to the actual move, Tsering and Laszlo implemented a completely new wireless solution, worked out a telecommunications system that aligned itself with similar technology already in place, and a lot of testing was done between the two sites to ensure a unified connectivity could be provided so that business continuity would continue uninterrupted. During the hospitals five day moving schedule they disconnected/connected desktop computers, equipment and tested each accordingly. The move went very smoothly for everyone involved.
As well as managing the Hillcrest site the Data Centre at 650 Church Street had to be moved. This required a plan and months of preparations to identify all the critical systems and services along with their inter-dependences. Following an extensive review, it was decided to lease space at Cogeco a professional Data Centre. However, the question for Tsering and Laszlo became how do we move our Data Centre without massive downtime? Although, they researched a professional moving company that specializes in moving Data Centres, a single move of all the equipment could create a network downtime of up to 24 hours and this was unacceptable.
Our IT department decided that they would transport the Data Centre themselves in multiple moves over a three-day period. There were many stakeholders that the IT team needed to work with to help coordinate their move as well as preparing the proper links and prioritizing the critical systems for transport. Although this was extremely challenging for the team they felt this was the best solution in providing minimal network downtime.
I asked Laszlo how much downtime did you actually have? “E-mail and security remained uninterrupted, and we had a drop in connectivity for a couple of hours for some services,” he said, “but that was while we were transferring the devices.” He went on to add, I think Tsering and I can be proud of ourselves, we did not lose a single system, file or folder, and we completed the job with our own resources.”
Tsering and Laszlo have researched, adapted and learned to facilitate many different functions that would normally be allocated out within a similar-sized corporate IT environment. Over the last two years they have completed many tasks and worked diligently providing a seamless network service for the TGHC community. I asked Laszlo what’s next for the IT department? Smiling he said, “I guess we’ll soon begin preparations to do it all over again when we move back to 650 Church Street.”