HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO MOVE AN IBM-BASED DATA CENTER?
(An Actual Customer Call)
By Larry Smith, President, ABR Consulting
The draft budget below is the result of an actual call by a person visiting our
website. We produced this draft budget as the result of a 5-minute phone
call and not seeing the data center. The $720,000 budget is very real for
planning and relocating a large data center containing IBM mainframes and
peripheral equipment. 70% of the costs are directly related to acquiring
special cables and components for the IBM system, voice and data cabling of the
computer room and the costs for IBM and other large vendors to relocate their
own equipment. As a comparison, planning and relocating a 4,000-6,000
sq.ft. data center containing only servers, routers, etc. would be approximately
$200,000 with half the cost being for cabling, components and relocation
expense. The remainder is for planning and project management.
This draft budget was done quickly and without seeing the site. Ultimately,
it could vary either way dramatically. We must see the site in order to
provide an accurate budget. The importance of the exercise is
to get a detailed list of what items are involved in planning and relocating a
data center in front of the customer.
Have a data center project on the horizon? Need help in finalizing your
project budget? The one thing you absolutely do not want to do is come in
too low (see our newsletter on this
subject). ABR can help. We invite you to go to our contact page
(Contact Us) and either send us an email or call us directly.
ACTUAL CUSTOMER CALL AND
July 5, 2001, we received a call from an operations manager of a data center in the
mid-west that went something like this on our voice mail: "This is
(name withheld) from (name of organization withheld) and I need to know how much
its going to cost to move my data center. Could someone from your office
come out here today or tomorrow to meet with us?"
I made contact with this individual a short time later and had a very brief
5-minute conversation. In that conversation, I learned that this
individual was a manager of a large data center containing an IBM mainframe and
other IBM systems. I asked for the size of the data center and she didn't
know. I told her that I was not able to travel immediately but I would
have something for her by the next morning. I was able to get her email ID
and the conversation ended.
Equipped with vast experience in planning and relocating IBM-based data centers
I made the following assumptions and prepared the draft budget below:
We were recently involved with
two IBM-based data centers in similar organizations (same industry) and
simply estimated the size of the data center to be approximately 10,000
sq.ft. for budgeting purposes.
Learning that this was a very
Blue shop, we were certain that IBM Global Services was hovering around this
project somewhere and that the customer probably had a quote from IBM in hand.
We think that the sticker shock prompted the management of this organization
to seek alternate
A project of this size and scope
will need 5,000-6,000 hours to plan and manage from beginning to end. Note
that the entire 6,000 hour total is over and above the normal day-to-day
Of the 6,000 hour total, we
would suggest 2,500 hours for outside consulting and project management
resources (such as ABR). The remaining 3,500 hours will come by
increasing the workload of existing staff.
The draft budget below was emailed
by 10:00am PST on the following day (Friday 6, 2001). Two hours later, I contacted the
caller to discuss the draft budget. First, she was quite surprised that we
could provide such a good estimate of her data center inventory without seeing
the room and without her naming one piece of equipment in the room.
Second, her organization had indeed asked for a quote from IBM Global Services
and was attempting to find a less expensive solution. Third, from her
questions and comments, our draft quote had to be much lower than what she saw
from IBM. She did not reveal IBM's quote but we know they cannot outbid
ABR given that we both bid on the same specification and given that they bid
using their normal labor rates. Our labor costs are up to $100/hr. less depending on the resource
category. Plus, our quotes include all consulting and project management
to relocate every piece of IT equipment in your data center. The key word
is EVERYTHING. Our competition excludes many items that you will find in
the draft budget below.
Our immediate objective was to
answer her question "How much does it cost to move my data
center?" The following draft budget is very similar to what the caller saw on her
email 24 hours after her initial call. It has been modified slightly for
viewing by our website visitors.
Thank you so much for
contacting the ABR Consulting Group, Inc. with regards to relocating your data
center. It sounds like you need to come up with something quick so
let me be brief, make an enormous amount of assumptions based on our five minute
phone call and provide you with a number. Iíll
call you shortly and we can modify the assumptions as necessary.
(All of this is a pure guess based on previous experience)
1. You have a data center that is approximately 10,000 square feet in size
2. The following is included in your
construction budget and is not needed here:
3. The following is not included as part of the construction and you will
- Building construction (including the raised
- UPS/Generator, switchgear, etc
- Voice/data cabling for the general building
(all but the data center)
- Underfloor electrical (not final placement,
- All HVAC, fire safety, security, etc.)
budget for it.
- All voice/data cabling to equipment, racks, cabinets and remainder of computer
- All pre-wiring for the PBX
- Bus & Tag cables for approx. 40 channels
- 20 data cabinets
- Furniture for server lab area
- KVM systems for 80 servers
- Planning for relocation of all IT equipment
- Final identification of electrical receptacles
and their locations
4. Equipment - Mainframe & Peripherals
- One 2-3 cabinet IBM 9672 RXX.
you have an IBM 3090, we need to talk.
- 4-6 strings of
IBM (or equivalent) DASD with controllers
tape cartridge systems and a tape storage area
- 1 IBM 3745/46
- 4-6 IBM 3274
- 20 operating
and network consoles
- Possible IBM
chairs, bookcases, storage cabinets, etc.
5. Equipment - Mid Frames
6. Equipment - Servers
- 40-60 NT servers
- 80-100 Unix servers
- 80 CRTs
- 60% of these servers are in cabinets.
40% are on lab-type furniture systems
- 2-3 routers
- 4-6 switches (Cisco 6509, 5000)
- 4 cabinets full of modems, other comm.
- 8 relay racks full of other network
8. Voice/Data Circuits
- 60 dial-in circuits with rotor system for students, etc.
- 15 T1 lines from other buildings and to web
9. Workstations for Staff
- 40 workstations for staff
In planning the budget,
note that for a 12,000 to 15,000 sq.ft. data center with IBM mainframes, you
will need approximately 2,500 hours of consulting and project management
assistance to design all equipment layouts, produce the entire equipment
migration plan and be onsite to supervise the entire migration event.
Note that the labor rates that we quote below are our labor rates.
IBM Global Services rates are about $180/hr.-$225/hr.
You will also need to budget for components that are not normally
part of the construction budget. They are
Completing the Data Center
and Pre-Move Installs
Note: This section does not include costs for new network hardware
||Voice/data cabling for computer
room (includes 12 relay racks
||20 new data cabinets
||Shelves for cabinets
||New bus & tag cables
(plenum-rated) (includes installation)
||New LIC cables for 3745/46
(plenum-rated) (includes install)
||New ESCON cables (includes
||New RS232 and V.35 cables
||New furniture systems for NOC,
||3X74 Controller racks
||Baluns, patch cords, coax
||Additional PBX cards,
||Seed modems, CSUs, etc.
* This amount can increase dramatically if
you must acquire "seed" equipment to be
be pre-installed to reduce downtime (i.e. data center must
move in 12 hours but
certain operations must be online within 4-6 hours). I
do not detect a serious
need here unless you have an IBM 3495 tape system which takes
Contracted Relocation Expense
We are assuming that you are
relocating to either another floor in the same building or to another building
in your multi-building campus.
Note: The costs below do not include re-configuring your fiber/copper
to other buildings in
your campus should you move to a different building.
We can make this estimate
but we need to see the site.
||Contracting with IBM to relocate
all IBM equipment
||$ 60,000 **
||Contracting with other vendors
to relocate the large, free-standing equipment
||Relocate the tape library
||Relocate servers, printers,
CRTs, etc. in computer room
||Relocate staff PC workstations
||Total Relocation Expense
||$ 122,000 ***
projected expense does not include IBM's special equipment replacement
insurance that guarantees replacement equipment within
a specified amount
of hours should your equipment be damaged during the
*** The relocation expense
could be as low as $50,000 depending on actual inventory
Consulting and Project
For more detail on consulting and project
management, see our article on Equipment Planning and
1. Early Project Planning and Management
Working with the architect and engineers. Equipment layouts, drawings, equipment inventory, coordinating activities
for final construction and pre-install.
cabling RFP. Includes PBX inventory.
|Consulting & Project Mgt
|Other Technical Labor
|Sub Total Consulting & Proj.
2. Equipment Migration Planning
planning for the teardown, movement and reinstall of all equipment. Includes
drawings, project plan, data circuit cutovers, team meetings, vendor meetings and other activities
|Consulting & Project
|Other Technical Labor
|Sub-Total Equip. Migration &
3. Actual Move Events
Onsite presence to manage all
technical relocation events
|Consulting & Project
|Other Technical Labor
|Total Cost for Consulting and
TOTAL COSTS FOR PROJECT
This is the estimated expense
that will be needed to relocate your entire data center.
Iíve assumed that you have a 10,000 sq.ft. data center and lots of
equipment. We have only two exclusions:
- This budget
does not include any expense for any type of software engineering.
- This budget
does not include any expense for network or server "seed"
- This budget
does not include any expense for re-engineering you copper and fiber
voice/data backbone cabling system as a result of relocating to another
building on your multi-building campus.
Many customers overlook
two major areas of expense; (1) the cost of preparing the new computer room for
the move (Customer fit-up) and, (2) the cost of the extra consulting and project management.
These are huge expenses. If
I have over estimated the size of your computer room and operations, this number
can be reduced significantly but you wonít escape most of it.
Thank you once again for
contacting the ABR Consulting Group, Inc.
Contact us at www.abrconsulting.com