The main purpose of this project was to upgrade a large APC UPS system to the latest technology, but we took advantage of the maintenance window to do an extensive cleanup job in the Tokyo data center. (

Some details on the Sullivan & Cromwell Tokyo DC Cleanup and APC Upgrade project:

Image of UPS PDUs plugged in.This project started gradually in the course of normal support operations at Sullivan and Cromwell Tokyo. At all my clients, a bit of "entropy" in data centers such as cabling that could be better organized or equipment that has been physically jammed in a rack is common, and can usually be resolved by fitting the work in here or there as "mini projects". This time, several fairly major, interconnected and time-consuming tasks were required, and the challenge was in negotiating a sufficient work window from the busy legal professionals. It was really time for a good spring cleaning.

Office moves, other projects, schedule, budget, personnel and many other things contrived to slow down or stall this project, but we finally got the jump on it and had meticulously planned an intense 40 hour window given to us over a long weekend. The centerpiece was the upgrade of a new large APC UPS system with a long runtime (small business UPSs might get you 10 or 15 min, but this equipment is good for a couple of hours), which itself required special fireproofing and detailed confirmations due to its heavy weight. We took the opportunity to install everything to spec per new regulations that had been imposed after the Great Tohoku Earthquake of 2011, which dictated removing most equipment from the DC, bolstering the floor and rack bases, then re-installing and re-connecting everything. Along the way, we discarded (a lot of) old cable, moved racks for better access, installed additional circuit breakers, decommissioned equipment, installed new numbered patch cables, reduced cabling complexity, and got the equipment deployed in a logical and well-documented way.

Image of Yori hard at work.As I always say it's not "if" but "when", and we had to quickly deal with a couple of big challenges. For instance, a critical connection cable for the UPS was not delivered by the maker to spec, and was too short, so we scrambled to make one. Also, the electrician installed the wrong connectors for the UPS spec, so we had to get the right ones and change the tight schedule to fit the challenges coming our way. When this sort of thing happens it really makes your heart skip a beat, but the entire extended team came through to make it happen. We were fortunate to have very cooperative and skilled people working with us from NTT and Fujitsu PFU, who truly went the extra mile to make things work.

I am sincerely grateful to Gerry, Nic, Wade, John, James, Steve, Hary, Jim, Carlos, Tom and the rest of the SullCrom NY team, as well as Midori and Hagie (and Katsura who was still there when the project began) from the Japan team, for their support and business. Projects don't just happen in a vacuum, and you were instrumental in the project's success. I was proud of Ena and the rest of the eSolia team for a job well done, too!


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