Routing changes between Informatics and EdLAN

For many years we have used the OSPF routing protocol to exchange IPv4 and IPv6 routes with the rest of EdLAN as well as internally within Informatics.  As a result of the University’s network replacement project, however, that’s going to have to change as EdLAN adopts a more layered structure.  We’ll continue to use OSPF internally, as it suits our needs well, but we’re going to adopt BGP instead to exchange routes with EdLAN.

It’s a bit more fiddly to set up, as there are many more knobs that can be adjusted to allow for different users’ situations, but it does have the advantage (to both us and EdLAN) that policy decisions over which routes are accepted by either side are much more clearly set out, so in the long term there should be better stability and fewer surprises.

We’ve been trying this out on a couple of test routers for a while now, and are reaching the point where we’re ready to bring it into service.  The cutover date for the Informatics Forum EdLAN distribution router is likely to be Tuesday 15th June, though before that can happen we do need to upgrade all of our Linux Forum edge routers.  This will be happening over the next week or so, and will require each one to be rebooted in turn.  Most of this work shouldn’t be noticed, for the most part, but there will be short breaks while the Forum main router and the OpenVPN endpoint are rebooted.  We’ll try to give as much notice of these as we can, though given the time constraints of the EdLAN replacement project, the Covid restrictions, and the fact that we really want to be on-site for this work, it probably won’t be possible to delay much,

Once the Forum is bedded in, we’ll move on to convert the Appleton Tower part of our network and our (mostly-)DR site at JCMB.

In due course there will also be changes to the way our network edge is set up, but the details of that will have to be worked through nearer the time.

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