A Storied Auction House Migrates Massive Production Data Center in a Single Move Event

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The Situation
Christies, Britain’s legendary auction house with 1800+ employees and 2018 sales totaling $7B, needed to relocate its production data center from Long Island, New York to central New Jersey in a single move event over the week of Christmas. This critical move was part of the company’s substantial digital transformation effort to modernize IT operations and reduce its data center footprint and costs over the long term. Christie's engaged Align to lead the project within the specific deadline requirement.

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The Challenge
As with any Migration, our client faced complex technical and logistical challenges to complete the move. The project included a compressed timeline triggered by the client’s data center lease expiration with a prerequisite to complete the entire relocation on a single date. The migration also required the replacement of its mostly end-of-life equipment to new technologies that would suit the company’s long-term needs and significantly reduce energy costs. Additionally, the firm’s application infrastructure and current environment suffered from inaccurate historical data where dependencies were not always well-documented in a centralized way.

The Solution
Our subject matter experts developed a “Current State Assessment” of the applications and infrastructure using ServiceNow as our CMDB of record. We developed custom ‘profiles’ to identify each application’s functionality and infrastructure dependencies.

This information enabled Align to transition into the migration planning, establish migration methodologies and determine the future state of applications.  We also designed and procured a new Cisco ACI network in the target site. Our team designed the data center, including the cabinet layout, power grid and low-voltage cable distribution. Finally, we developed a budget based on our migration methodology, procured seed equipment, created cabinet equipment elevations and developed the patching schedules for all devices. Following migration planning, Align performed the design implementation and build-out of the data center white space, deployed equipment, installed the cable patches for all equipment in preparation for the migration execution event.

The Results
Our Migrations & Cloud team seamlessly executed the data center migration through our well-defined process and technical expertise. We successfully moved these workloads to the new data center on time and budget, all within in a single move event and zero impact to our client’s business operations.

Some project key metrics:

    • 60% reduction of the company’s data center footprint
    • 30% reduction in required cabinets/racks
    • Almost 25% reduction in overall devices
    • Relocation of 150 applications, 6 of which were deemed ‘high criticality’ to business operations

Align used a custom web tool to publish each detailed phase of the migration event to manage migration events more holistically, and to provide full transparency to the client.

Client Feedback: “I am confident that our successful move to our new data center would not have gone as smoothly without the Align’s tireless effort and work. Watching the Align machine in action is awe-inspiring to witness. The professionalism showed from start to finish truly impressed both myself and our senior leadership.

Tags: Migration