Travel tips for sysadmins

OpenDNS recently added a datacenter location in Frankfurt, Germany. On their blog, George Patterson, Director of Operations for OpenDNS, not only posted some pictures of their server rack but also a bunch of tips for sysadmins that have to travel to a remote facility:

  • Have a solid deployment checklist of everything you want at the site. If you don’t bring all necessary tools and equipment with you, getting them will cost you extra time.
  • Set up all your power at the datacenter and make sure it’s working before you leave. Don’t waste time waiting for the datacenter staff to have your power supply connected. And have them install a remote manageable power distribution unit, so you don’t have to pay remote-hands charges.
  • If you can avoid it, don’t book a flight until your gear has cleared customs. Depending on the country, customs handling can take from a few days to several weeks. Don’t just hope that your gear will arrive earlier than you.
  • Always plan for extra days. You shouldn’t have to go into fast-forward mode because something took a bit longer than planned; that will only account for more problems. Plan for some extra days and if you’ll finish early, there probably will be more to go and see than only a datacenter.
  • Take photos along the way, and at the end. If your site documentation includes images, it’s very easy to point a remote tech to the right place.

Read George’s whole blog post on the OpenDNS blog!

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