UFV’s IT department concludes Phase 1 of major enterprise network upgrade

Members of UFV’s IT department gather in the server room following the completion of Phase 1.

UFV’s digital network, online security, and cloud integration have all vastly improved — and more upgrades are coming thanks to a multi-year effort to strengthen the university’s IT systems.

Phase 1 of the Network Modernization Project — which began with an in-depth network analysis in April, 2020 — was completed Saturday, Feb 25 when more than a dozen IT professionals migrated multiple systems. All told, more than 20 UFV employees, vendors, and consultants contributed over the past two years.

“One of the major risks we identified was a need to remediate key components of our network as the equipment was nearing end of support and was not optimal for the coming network demands,” explains Bryan Daniel, UFV manager of infrastructure delivery and project manager for the extensive Network Modernization Project.

“Born from that recommendation was a plan to modernize the network in two phases, the modernization phase we’ve just completed and a network optimization phase that begins in the next few months.”

Having upgraded UFV’s network load balancing solution, network core router, and data centre software, the modernization project team is about to begin a re-architecture approach to simplifying, optimizing, and accelerating the application deployment lifecycle — basically creating a faster, safer system for UFV students, staff, and faculty.

“This has been an incredible team effort that puts us on the right path to be better equipped to handle future growth and provide an improved level of information security,” says Alex Diaz, UFV director of infrastructure and operations.

“Phase 1 has been a significant undertaking that laid the groundwork for the modernization of our network infrastructure — I’m excited to keep this momentum moving forward and we continue working together.”

Other related upgrades during Phase 1 included: upgraded network connections for UFV buildings in Clearbrook, Mission and Hope, resulting in higher bandwidth for end users; and an additional redundant internet feed for the Abbotsford campus and data centre, with automatic failover to protect against the loss of a circuit.

A key consideration of this project has been maximizing upgrades while minimizing the impact on system users. IT services ranging from Wi-Fi to remote connections and the UFV.ca web page were intermittently disrupted during the night of Feb 25, and Diaz expects a similarly minimally-invasive experience when Phase 2 draws to a conclusion early 2024.

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