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Abstracts - 12th Systems Administration Conference (LISA '98)

What to Do When the Lease Expires: A Moving Experience

Lloyd Cha, Chris Motta, Syed Babar, and Mukul Agarwal - Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Jack Ma and Waseem Shaikh - Taos Mountain, Inc.
Istvan Marko - Volt Services Group


Moving a division of approximately 200 employees from one building to another across town can be a daunting task. It involves coordination among teams from systems administration, networking, facilities, and security as well as support from management and cooperation of the employees being relocated. Contractors and subcontractors are frequently hired to handle physical relocation of goods from one location to another, construction of new server rooms, electrical rewiring, installation of new cooling systems, etc. This paper is the story of how we handled the move and reconfiguration of a network of approximately 1000 nodes over a long weekend in May 1998.

Previously published work has discussed some of the issues that challenged us here. The reconfiguration of large numbers of machines has been discussed in [Manning93, Riddle94, Shaddock95]. "Forklift" upgrades of new hardware [Harrison92] share some but not all of the problems we faced in our move. Implementation of new networking topology without the problems or schedules imposed by physical relocation has been discussed in [Limoncelli97].

We believe our work is unique in requiring all these tasks to happen on a large scale in a relatively short time. We were allocated only one workday in addition to a weekend to shutdown and relocate our computing environment. We were expected to have a fully functioning network at our new location the following Monday. Ordinarily the complete reconfiguration of a network this size would be a challenge in itself. For our project, we had to account for the time required to disconnect and pack machines, load them into trucks, transport them across town, unload, and reconnect them at the new building. As we will detail, the resulting window of time available to handle the reconfiguration of all these machines was very small.

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Last changed: 27 Mar 2002 ml
Technical Program
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