Ordnance Survey

Ordnance Survey

Hardware Configuration Manager & CM Consultant
for Data Centre Relocation

Ordnance Survey is the UK’s internationally known and respected government mapping agency. It had been based in its current offices for several decades but was now moving to new premises, taking the opportunity to relocate the vast majority of its production and back-office servers to a remote data-centre in the process. Ordnance Survey identified a need to capture hardware configuration information describing their live estate, prior to the data centre relocation.

We were engaged on a short-term basis to manage the capture of all hardware information necessary for the safe relocation of substantially in excess of 100 servers to the new data centre. In the absence of a configuration management database (CMDB) of any sort, we used ClearCase to hold the required information, describing each device in the data centre within 5 different files suitable for later import into a more sophisticated CMDB repository. The content of the XML file templates was arrived at following considerable discussion, workshopping and negotiation with many users, and ClearCase provided both safe repository and version control.

Much of the server asset data was initially provided by users in Excel spreadsheets, or via automated reporting tools such as Centennial, and we designed and wrote a number of scripts (using VB Script) to automatically import these data elements into ClearCase from the numerous formats and sources (including HEAT – used internally by Ordnance Survey as a change management tool).

We similarly developed scripts, again using Windows Scripting Host, to export all hardware asset data to a single file and automatically generated RAG reports against it for checking data completeness prior to Ordnance Survey’s configuration manager approving the data centre migration.

This work was successfully concluded in good time for the commencement of the server moves to the new data centre (it being broken down into a number of inter-related clumps rather than going as a big-bang), and our final activity in this respect was to handover the entirety of this work to permanent staff so they could leverage and adapt it to configuration manage the later migration of the remaining data-centre servers and all desktop PCs to the new offices themselves.

As Ordnance Survey lacked an effective CMDB (hence the temporary ClearCase solution) we ultimately assisted in defining a set of requirements for a CMDB, and evaluating possible tools such as OneCMDB against those requirements, with a view to identifying a suitable product for OS to use long-term going forwards. A decision was taken, in line with the government’s OpenSource strategy, to use OneCMDB shortly before the end of our engagement and we therefore assisted to a limited extent with the implementation of this and migration of asset configuration data into it too.

Keywords

Data Centre Relocation, IBM Rational ClearCase, OneCMDB, Centennial, HEAT, VB Script, Windows Scripting Host, CMDB, requirements definition, RAG reporting, knowledge transfer.

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