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On Friday, July 31, at 5:30 p.m., ITS Communication Technologies will conduct a service-continuity test. The purpose of this test is to ensure appropriate redundancy measures are in place for critical campus IT architecture.

The importance of continuity testing

ITS Communication Technologies is being proactive and testing network services for redundancy, resiliency, disaster recovery and service continuity. ITS Communication Technologies will test the four campus-wide networking services that are housed in Phillips and replicated elsewhere. The four services are:

  • Internet connectivity
  • VPN access
  • Routing for main campus departmental virtual local-area networking (VLANs), both firewalled and non-firewalled
  • Campus-wide VoIP/phone service

“The plan,” Gogan said, “is to pull the plug on the hardware in Phillips providing those services, verify the redundancy infrastructure elsewhere on campus is kicking in, assess the impact, then plug everything back in and verify that the hardware actually comes back on line (which is the more interesting case).”

Test to run for 40 minutes

For the test, ITS will pull the plug at 5:30 p.m., wait 20 minutes to assess things, reconnect at 5:50 p.m. and then spend another 20 minutes re-assessing the restoration.

“All work should be completed and infrastructure back to normal by 6:10 p.m.,” Gogan said. He anticipates no-to-minimal disruption during the test. That’s because the systems are designed on redundant architecture. “But one never knows until the disaster hits,” Gogan said. “It’s good to be proactive.” The expectation is that the test will be transparent to all. Back out plans are in place that would reduce any unanticipated issues to a 10-minute window.

“Any in-process phone call will definitely have a hiccup and might drop, and any active VPN session will need to reconnect,” he said. That’s because those are, of necessity, “active/standby” systems. The Internet and departmental routing are “active/active,” so they should see no interruption.

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