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60,000 sq ft of buried, tangled (sometimes live) wire pulled, sorted and packed

The Client

This Guardian Data Destruction channel partner is a leader in sustainable IT asset management and asset disposition (ITAD). Their client is a multinational investment bank and financial services company ranking in the Fortune 50. Both companies focus on compliance, data security, retaining maximum value from retired assets and environmental stewardship.

Guardian Services

  • Data Center Decommissioning
  • Cable mining
  • End-of-life packing
  • Inside pickup readiness
  • Logistics & Chain of Custody documents


  • Financial/Banking
  • Data Center (Tier IV)


  • Director of Operations
  • Facilities Manager
  • IT Management

The Challenge

The financial institution needed to clear out hundreds of racks, a tape vault, 1000 PDUs and all electrical, CAT5 and fiber optic cabling, and racking in two 30,000 sq ft dedicated data centers located in a high security, Tier IV data center. The extensive raised floor cabling was not tagged or traced and was mixed in with live power and live data wiring that could not be touched. Additionally, water and fire sensors under the floor had to be avoided. All racks, equipment, peripherals and pulled cables had to be sorted and packed for end-of-life recycling and then moved to the loading dock for inside pickup. Timeline was four weeks.

60,000 ft of chaotic, tangled cabling traced and tackled (amidst live data and power)

When both data center floors were opened to reveal snarled cabling throughout, the Guardian team carefully traced and tagged all the cables to pinpoint the live power and live data lines (some servers in both floors were still running). In four weeks, they pulled, sorted and packed cables and wires (power, CAT 5 and fiber optic), packed 172 “Gaylord” pallets, and moved inside the building for inside pickup. The operating network servers remained in service without even a “blip”.

High security access and maze-like floor plans don’t stop shipping and logistics

The two 30,000 sq ft, high security, Tier IV floors of the data center did not have access to the loading dock. Guardian’s onsite team carefully navigated 762 cabinets and 172 pallets through a live environment and convoluted floor plan to securely collect all project deliverables with shipping and logistics documentation to the loading dock for inside pick up. The total project shipment completely filled 32 full-size trucks. No live cables were accidentally snipped or pulled.

Surprises don’t stop project progress

Guardian prepares for the unexpected. This large onsite project at a remote location did not disappoint. Surprises included:

  • The project size doubled immediately without a change in timing: more racks, more cables and more PDU disassembly.
  • A few live network cables were snaking through the maze of dead power and communication cables.
  • A magnetic tape vault disassembly was added to the project scope.
  • Seven adjacent storage rooms filled with assorted office and IT equipment were also added to the project.
  • The lease-end deadline of four weeks never changed.

With our experienced team onsite and coordinators at HQ, we were able to modify the project plan, increase the onsite team and engage our shipping and logistics specialists to develop an optimal process for documenting and delivering all packed assets to the loading dock.

The Bottom Line

Working through the weekends with a rotating team of 14 onsite technicians, Guardian cleared 60,000 square feet of racking, cable and power despite increased scope and unforeseen site challenges. The tracing and tagging of the raised floor cables ensured that there were no errors in cable pulling or clipping. No fire, water, data or power mistakes were made. Racks and cabling were sorted, packed and moved through the building to the loading dock and loaded onto 32 dedicated trucks for downstream recycling. The data center operations were not impacted at any time throughout the project and the project was completed on time.

The Details

This 60,000 sq feet data center racking and cable mining project consisted of dismantling server racks; tagging and tracing of a jumbled minefield of subfloor wires and cables that included live power, live data, sensitive water and fire sensors; removing a tape vault and two full storage rooms and clipping, removing, sorting and packing all for downstream recycling. All removed materials and equipment were labeled, documented and carefully maneuvered to the building loading dock for inside pickup.

  • 775 server racks unganged, removed
  • 1000+ man hours tagging, tracing, pulling, sorting cables and wire
  • 2000 PDUs (power distribution unit) removed and packed
  • 234-piece tape vault decommissioned, removed
  • 172 Gaylord-style pallets containing cabling and miscellanea sorted and end-of-life packed
  • 2 storage rooms full clean out
  • 32 truckloads of racks and pallets moved from server room to loading dock
  • Inside pick-up including chain of custody, BOL for transport to R2 recycler (designated by ITAD)

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