Over the 2014 summer break CalArts IT completed a comprehensive upgrade of the CalArts network, engineered with a focus on simplicity and efficiency.
The CalArts network had previously been split in to two physical cores, with each wiring closet as its own network not necessarily open to the rest of campus. Traffic was balanced between the cores and, in the event of a problem, either one could temporarily handle the full load of the CalArts network. This setup was functional on a hardware level, but the network structure that it was running was too rigid; devices could not talk to each other across the network without opening special 'lanes' across the network. Two computers or devices connected to separate wiring closets would be logically blocked from each other.
We have now consolidated our formerly divided core switches into a single Cisco enterprise chassis complete with fully redundant networking and power modules. This chassis simplifies the core of our network by acting as a single device rather than the split cores we utilized previously. Along with the simplification of the physical network layout we also took the opportunity to re-work how the network is laid our logically. Whereas the old network was basically a series of silos (traffic had to be specially allowed between areas), this new network is 'flattened' so devices can now communicate across the campus and across the network.
Network design is a laborious and intensive process. This past summer was the culmination of months of planning and preparation. We are excited to see what the CalArts community does with the new capabilities of the network. As always, if you have a specific project in mind that we can lend a hand in please let us know!