ugh it's in a different building (NAC), about 1000 feet from the building the lab is in (Steinman Hall).
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This past Wednesday was the epic move to CCNY's data center.
WARNING: If you are a professional IT person or server administrator, or are pregnant, have a heart condition, or are overly sensitive to computer abuse, please, stop reading at this point, and go find pictures of butterflies or daisies. Continue reading at your own risk.
Firstly, although there are small wheels on the bottom of the rack, they're designed for sliding the thing around short distances on smooth surfaces, not for wheeling down the block. So we arranged with a facilities person, who said he's moved a few HPCs in his time, to move the cluster. He told us to wheel the thing out of the lab into the hallway and he'd bring his equipment:
Johnson Bar is a giant, wheeled lever which he used to get help the HPC onto the truck. I say 'help' because it just got one side precariously onto the forks. He then went to the other side, levered and lifted and we pushed the rack (trust me, you do not want to hear the scraping sound this makes) fully on to the tines .
getting out of the building:
To get it out, we propped it up on bricks to help get it off the truck,
Before I continue this epic tale, I would like to draw your attention to the following detail:
In any case, we got it out, back onto the truck, and started wheeling it down the sidewalk, and then onto the street:
Anyway, we wheeled the thing down the street
narrowly missing being smashed by some speeding buses and nearly running over a few pedestrians. Keep in mind that this pallet truck didn't really have any suspension to speak of, and this was a NYC street, so there was quite a bit of vibration during this leg of the trip, too. After a few near misses with some giant, man-potholes, we got stuck again, this time outside NAC:
Well, after another brick trick, and another rough trip over another threshold, we were inside! Only to discover that one of the servers had been shaken free from its mount:
After re-securing that server (and checking the others), we continued on our way, bouncing over the textured, uneven tiles of the NAC lobby then down a hall to the data center!
We found our spot, in a cozy corner, plugged it in
IT TURNED ON!!! A few connections were loose in the back, but otherwise all 11 computers, somehow, survived the trip!
Now our lab is quiet, the cluster is happy, I learned what a Johnson bar is, I beat Aryeh's record for number of pictures in a single blog post, and I now know how to move a high performance computing cluster.