Mac Uni shuts down legacy datacentre

Macquarie University's old secure datacentre (SDC) was shut down accompanied by a joyous eulogy posted online today.
Written by Colin Ho, Contributor

Macquarie University's old secure datacentre (SDC) was shut down accompanied by a joyous eulogy posted online today.


The SDC dinosaur (Toy dinosaur image by Jerry Russell, CC2.0)

"There are partings that are sweet sorrow and partings that go off with a cheer — the decommissioning of the legacy SDC network is definitely in the latter category," said spokesperson Kathy Sewell in the blog of Macquarie University chief information officer Marc Bailey.

Bailey told ZDNet.com.au that the university will be taking the informatics staff to the premiere of Iron Man 2 to celebrate the occasion.

The SDC network was built in 2000 and was used as a place to host the university's business systems. After a two-year migration, the network has since been replaced by the Network Data Core (NDC) which was installed next door in 2007.

"Critical in its day, but its day has long past and it had become a critical legacy bottleneck," wrote Sewell.

The last step towards the decommission was transplanting the legacy GroupWise email system from Netware to Novell OES2 to stabilise it until the university could roll Gmail out across campus. According to Bailey, the university has already moved 2020 users (a third of the uni staff) to Gmail in 60 days. The university has also been overhauling and unifying its network experience as part of a project dubbed OneNet.

According to the blog, the old SDC was wasteful and inefficient by today's standards with most components having an end-of-life two years ago. The old network used 96 copper cables to connect its racks versus the one to two pieces of fibre in the new data core.

"The original design complexity of the SDC network made it difficult to expand or modify systems/services which in turn made any changes very slow and complicated to implement," said Sewell.

"Free from the shackles of obsolete equipment and arcane design, OneNet, powered by the NDC, can move forward at Warp 9," she concluded, alluding that the university's technology infrastructure would move at the speed of faster-than-light warp engines, commonly found aboard Star Trek's Starship Enterprise.

Bailey, a self-confessed Star Trek aficionado, told ZDNet.com.au that the utopia represented in the sci-fi TV series was a model for his informatics department.

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