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Project Performance Corporation (PPC) competed for, and won, the tasking to lead this multi-million dollar OCIO relocation strategy, planning, and execution effort.

Relocating U.S. Patent and Trademark Office IT Facilities: Strategy, Planning, and Execution

In 2004, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) began relocating its business operations and over 6,500 employees from Crystal City, VA to their new, consolidated campus headquarters in Alexandria, VA. Because PTO's mission centers on facilitating a number of public consumer functions such as patent and trademark filing and review, the Director of PTO and Senior Business Area Executives wanted to perform this relocation with minimal service interruption and impact to PTO's customers. This required PTO's Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) to develop a sound strategy and detailed plans for relocating its IT facilities and all of the automated information systems (AIS) that support PTO business operations while maximizing business continuity.

Project Performance Corporation (PPC) competed for, and won, the tasking to lead this multi-million dollar OCIO relocation strategy, planning, and execution effort. The relocation of PTO's IT facilities-Data Center and Emerging Technologies Center (ETC)-and contained AISs amount to one of the Washington, D.C. area's largest IT relocation efforts in recent history. In total, PTO's Data Center and ETC house 150 AISs supported by over 4,500 IT devices including approximately 950 servers, 500 networking components, 100 Oracle databases, 30 tape backup libraries, 17 firewalls, 700 computers, and 450 terabytes of data storage. Teamed with IBM, PPC spent the majority of 2004 and early 2005 working with OCIO employees, system development managers (SDMs), and Business Areas representatives to plan and prepare for this relocation.

First, we defined a relocation strategy based on several industry Best Practice alternatives. Our final strategy called for ETC (i.e., PTO's testing and development environment) relocation to take place over a two week period, in which the ETC would be completely shut down and moved on a 24 x 7 schedule. For the ETC, service continuity was not a concern for PTO. For the Data Center (i.e., PTO's production environment), relocation would take place over ten weekends to minimize business service downtime. Second, we began relocation planning by characterizing PTO's IT infrastructure, and developed an asset repository tool (Shazaam) to integrate information in existing PTO facilities management systems and data repositories. In addition to detailing typical asset information (e.g., asset type, location, version, owner, etc.), Shazaam also included AIS dependency information that would be critical to understanding data flows and ensuring continuity of operations during Data Center relocation. Using Shazaam and our understanding of PTO's infrastructure, we segmented AISs and related devices into "affinity groups"-logical groupings of AISs and devices with technical dependencies or similar business functions. Ten affinity groups were developed, with one group moving each weekend during the Data Center relocation. During the planning phase, we also supported PTO IT facilities preparation, and conducted audits of old and new IT facilities and developed schematics for device locations within each facility.

The execution phase for PTO's IT facilities and operations relocation began in March 2005. Since this time, we have relocated all seed infrastructure equipment (e.g., networking components, storage, swing racks, etc) to the new PTO facilities. In April 2005, we completed the relocation and build-out of PTO's new, 20,000 square foot ETC successfully and ahead of schedule. Starting in May 2005, we will be relocating PTO's production Data Center. Using the wealth of knowledge and data gathered during planning, we are developing detailed project and staffing schedules for each of the ten relocation weekends to coordinate the timing and activities of PTO employees, PPC/IBM resources, and other resources that will be critical to successfully completing each relocation weekend including specialty technicians, packers, and movers. We have also prepared a Device Relocation Detail (DRD) for each of the Data Center devices that are relocating using Shazaam. Finally, we have developed a web-enabled Relocation Monitoring Tool so that approved individuals can track the relocation progress of their devices throughout the weekend.


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