In 2013, Utrecht University (UU) decided to renovate its data centre. The SURFnet PoP (Point-of-Presence) at the UU data centre is the third-largest hub in the SURFnet network, after Vancis in Amsterdam and Telecity2. Three of the five nationwide rings in the SURFnet network, as well as three Regional Rings and seven GigaMAN rings (local rings), intersect in Utrecht.
The renovations required the SURFnet hardware to be moved to a different location. UU had created a brand new space in the same building for all of the network facilities required by both the university and SURFnet. Starting on 1 February 2014, SURFnet had three months in which to transfer all hardware and fibre-optic connections to the new space. The major challenge during the move was transferring all of the network hardware and the optic fibres of five different fibre suppliers while ensuring that the network continued to function as normal and that all institutions retained their connectivity. Not only that, but at the same time the SURFnet network hardware was also being upgraded from SURFnet6 to SURFnet7. To ensure a smooth transition, an operation like this requires solid preparation and mutual coordination.
During such major changes, things can of course go wrong. In order to minimise the risks for users of the SURFnet network, the move was carried out in a large number of smaller steps. Where possible, hardware transfers were carried out without interrupting the connectivity of the connected institutions, and ‘service-effective’ activities were performed outside office hours by Telindus field engineers.
Last night, the last of the hardware required by the national rings (CPL node) was moved over, making the hardware transfer for the CPL node complete. Nineteen of the 23 fibre-optic connections have now also been relocated to the new space. In the weeks ahead, Telindus field engineers contracted by SURFnet will move the SURFnet7 hardware required by institutions with regional and local connections. All is going well, and the entire operation should be complete by 1 May 2014.