SUMMARY: Relocating an entire network!!!

From: Dan Penrod (
Date: Mon Dec 23 1996 - 18:09:09 CST

Sorry for the delay in this summary. It's taken quite a while
to get it all resolved from start to finish.

Well, our big corporate move is over and the transition appears
to have been a smooth success.

My original query was for advice in orchestrating a corporate
geographical relocation of our LAN and Internet connectivity.

The basic concensus was plan, plan, plan and allow between
3 to 6 months for that planning.

Our biggest concern, because we host some complex web pages
for some very large customers, was making sure our Internet
connection would come up smoothly without a lot of downtime
or new configuration complications.

One poplular suggestion was to run in parallel in both places
at once and slowly "trickle" the servers and various network
components over at our convenience. We didn't do this because
basically it's very expensive. It requires a lot of redundancy,
an extra set of csu/dsu's, routers, maybe firewalls, maybe
servers,... the extra T1 lease isn't cheap... you get the point.
The other real problem with this is having to get a new IP
domain (since you're still using the old one) and working
that out with the ISP and the Internic. Everything would have
to be reconfigured.

Another clever idea was to run a temporary leased line from
the old site to the new site as an extension of the old network.
Migrate the machines over slowly, then finally cut-over. This
is still pretty expensive with the extra leased lines and
extra routers and servers, (etc...) necessary to implement.

Our ISP is MCI. One manager wrote...

  1. Don't believe anything MCI tells you. Count on MCI
        screwing up everything. Make a large "stink" up
        front. Get the phone numbers of the MCI techs
        that will do the actual work. Don't use the
        account rep! Get their management involved early.

This was the crux of our strategy.

The LAN construction was quick and painless because we hired
a contrator to come in and wire the new building for us,
running voice (CAT 3) and data (CAT 5) from the server room
patchboard to all the offices and cubicle furniture. They
did a great job. I'm glad I didn't have to do the wiring
myself! We built the new LAN (basically plugging in all the
Macs and PC client-side desktops) on a Saturday leaving the
critical servers running at the old site till they were needed
and explained to our users that they wouldn't have Internet on
the LAN, during the weekend, till late Sunday.

We talked to MCI almost daily for over a month up to the
date of the move making sure absolutely everything would be
ready to go and all the appropriate engineers would be
standing by. There were lots of warnings and threats. I used
the phrases "Are you absolutely positively sure..." and "Are
you willing to accept full responsibility for that statement?"
over and over again. Sunday morning we tore down the server
rack (with 3 Sun servers and an NT server, hubs, routers,
firewall, csu/dsu, etc...) threw it in a truck, rushed to the
new site, reconstructed, called MCI (at exactly the predermined
time), they conferenced with engineers in 3 or 4 different
locations for about 1/2 hour, and we were up. Total down time
of our Web servers was about 2 1/2 hours Sunday morning. The
users (who don't generally work on weekends anyway) came in
Monday morning to a fully functioning network.

We were more fortunate, I know, than many of you who have much
larger networks. For a network our size (less than 1/2 dozen
servers and less than 75 client-side desktops) I think our
solution was optimal. For much larger networks you may have
to look into those "trickle-over" solutions I alluded to above.

My boss and my bosses boss were pleasantly surprised with the
results. I get to keep my job. ;-)

Thanks to the following... (Lincoln Chang) (Greg Ward)
"Charlie Mengler" <>
Reto Lichtensteiger <>
"Sandhar, Nishan" <> (John Reynolds)
Jason Boerner <>
"Cheng, Bruce" <>
"Marc L. Summers-SysAdmin" <> (Mike Jones)
Milt Webb <>
Douglas Vanderlip <>
Fedor Gnuchev <>
"Alfredo Sola" <> (Lyle Miller)
Richard Cooper <>
Rich Kulawiec <>
Mike Youngberg <>
"Bert N. Shure" <>
Jim Harmon <>
"Reggie Stuart" <>
Michael McGeown <>

Th original query follows...


This is going to be ugly... I just know it!

Our company is relocating to new facilities about 5 miles from here. Our network is, of course, critical to daily operations. We also maintain web pages for a number of very large clients.

My job: move the whole damn network and make sure no one (especially our customers) notice ANY down time.

Who out there has done this? This must be a relatively common occurance, right? Any and all suggestions, tips, and tricks are welcome.

Our network is composed of about 6 Sun workstation/servers which handle DNS, Webservices, Mail, Databases, etc... 30 or so PCs, 30 or so Macs, and the network equipment (5 ethernet hubs, firewall, router, csu/dsu, modems).

I've hired a contracter to handle wiring the new building for CAT 5 ethernet. Our ISP is MCI. I should be able to coordinate a smooth transition by talking to MCI, but my past experiences with MCI (transitioning from a partial T1 to a full T1) have been a nightmare and I basically don't trust them to make this run smoothly. I need to do my homework... and fast!

Should I be thinking about a transistion period where we're running in both places at once or is it better to throw it all in a truck, run it over and turn on the new Internet connection as quickly as possible?

We're moving in about 4 weeks. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, -- -- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ | _/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/ _/_/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/| | _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ | | _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/_/ _/_/_/ | | _/ _/ _/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/ _/ _/ | |_/_/_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/_/_/_/_/ _/_/_/_/_/ | +~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~+ | Dan Penrod - Unix Network Administrator | | Image Technologies - World Color New Media | | 2502 Rocky Point Dr. Suite 200, Tampa, FL 33716 | | vox:813/636-9266 fax:636-0431 | ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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