The Network


I went to read my mit.edu webmail today and noticed that apparently all of mit.edu has dropped off of the internet. No connectivity, no DNS resolution, no nothing. Maybe they figured that today was a good day to secede from the internet? Or more likely, some wonky poorly maintained piece of equipment failed or someone tripped over something or dug up an important non-redundant network link.

EDIT: Apparently this was a planned outage. Seemed to last longer than 5 minutes though. Nice to see they’re upgrading the backbone.

I figured this was as good a time as any to post some networking-related pictures that I had on file from my time at MIT IS&T. These are some of the finest cable mess nightmares that I’ve ever seen:

The first one is of the two network switches in the administrative server room. This is where the servers that hold your academic information and status, the admissions servers, and the institute’s detailed financial records and important databases that can’t go down live, among some other things. Note the nice rainbow of colors, and especially the strange number of orphan cables just hanging there. What goes where?

The second one is a close up of the previous. That makes for a really stable, mission-critical network, eh?

The third one is actually the first part of a success story. That’s the back of the SAN switch cabinet and immediate underfloor area. The only way we could replace this mangled mess of fiber cabling (which stretched underneath the entire datacenter) was to rip out the old switches entirely and replace them with a new set of Cisco 9000 series directors. The fine folks at ASST (myself included) ran all new cables nicely bound in collars, routed cleanly and labeled. Unfortunately, we never had enough time to rip all of the old stuff out, so I never took an “after” picture.