Maintenance 24x7

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-06-11 Print this article Print

eWeek: Michael Skaff, when you talk about security, are you talking about making sure that the network is protected from things that could hurt it or about using the network proactively as a tool for delivering and enforcing security? Skaff: Both, actually. I also wanted to comment about what Susan said. Im seeing the same thing: Im seeing maintenance windows disappear, essentially; there is no longer time for that. Its really having to try and figure out how to get around that idea whenever possible and maintain the 24-by-7 network.
eWeek: You have to tune the engine while its running.
Skaff: Pretty much. eWeek: Ed, you talked about your move toward using the network for engineering document availability for a worldwide engineering project. It sounds as if theres more than a little in common between what you have to do and what Susan is looking at doing with becoming the host for electronic filings and document access. What are some of the architectural choices that youve made as far as that document availability goal is concerned? Benincasa: Weve actually been looking at site vaulting, like live vaulting, which Susan might find interesting. Were definitely very interested in the full online backups that are done, basically, over the wire. Then the issue becomes the pipe and making sure that you have a wide-enough pipe to support all the data that needs to flow over there. … We actually have it easier than a lot of organizations because our critical data is actually stored at multiple points in our architecture redundantly. That solves a lot of potential problems there. eWeek: How many of you are dealing with heterogeneous networks because youve got branches of the network that are using older technology? Nowicke: Were pretty much single standard. eWeek: Which is? Nowicke: Ethernet, and our local connections are [100M-bps] or gigabit uplinks. Our wide-area connections are T-1 frame relay, and its pretty consistent throughout the enterprise. eWeek: Internally, youve preinvested in cabling thats capable of moving to that kind of bandwidth? Nowicke: Correct. [Category] 5 for the [100M bps] and then fiber, obviously, for the gigabit. eWeek: Do you feel youve pretty much got the cable plant in place that you need to meet your foreseeable needs? Nowicke: Yes, we do. Plus, in the infrastructure, were using all Cisco [Systems Inc.] routers and switches. Theyre all within a year old; that part is in good shape. eWeek: So, Ethernet is pretty much universal at this point? Baradet: Yes, for us. There are areas of the campus where theres probably still some AppleTalk running around, but most of those folks are switching over to Mac OS X, so everything will be over Ethernet. There might be some older stuff floating around, but thats pretty much confined to a specific lab or a machine room area. We shut off AppleTalk about five years ago. We still have a little bit of IPX running around, but thats mainly because weve got some older [Hewlett-Packard Co.] LaserJets that only do IPX, and they refuse to die. As long as they crank out paper, were not going to replace them. Its relatively low cost to keep the IPX running and to service them from print queues.


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