Data Center Network Upgrade

Posted on: October 13, 2017

The network for the university’s primary data center is being upgraded to ensure continued stability and high performance.  The Networking and Data Center teams have carefully planned to make this a smooth migration with the least disruption possible.  Customer migrations onto the new network will begin in late October through this year.

The current data center network, purchased in 2010, is near the end of vendor support (having exceeded the anticipated lifespan).  A new network has been installed in parallel to the legacy network so that migration of 745 devices can take place one rack pair at a time, leading to lower risk and more attention for individual customers as migrations occur.

The new network features 10Gbps (10 x 1,000,000,000 bits per second) twisted pair connections for all devices (the legacy network provided 1Gbps for most), and options to purchase 40Gbps for any speed demons.  It will be based on the same market-leading Cisco Nexus platform that has provided stable operations throughout the data center’s history.  The equipment is all installed, and validation testing is in progress.

Starting in late October, migrations will be completed one rack pair at a time in early mornings (before 8 am) on regular business days, to ensure availability of key staff for coordination. Conference calls will be set up for each migration to verify with customers that services are functional following a brief (approximately two minute) loss of network connectivity during the migration. Networking and Data Center staff will participate in these calls to support customer verification.  In January, the old network will be decommissioned.

There will be two maintenance windows along the way as key milestones are reached that will briefly impact the entire data center.  Those schedules will be announced shortly (likely to coincide with scheduled weekend maintenance events).

In addition to the core project team of David Breese, Pug Bainter, Charles Spurgeon, William Green, Andrew Manhein, Aaron Wilson, Brad Fawver, Julio Puente, and John Lovelace, a project of this scope involves the coordination and hard work of teams across ITS and numerous customers throughout the University.  Thank you all for your excellent work!

If you have some questions or just want a better understanding of the project, please contact John Lovelace, jlovelace@austin.utexas.edu.