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Network Engineers: What's the fastest way to migrate lots of Cat6/RJ to a new switch?

Imagine you have two large switches side - say a 6509 classic and a 6509E. Each has seven blades loaded with Cat6/RJ45 cabling. The vlan mappings and other config settings have grown organically for several years. You want to get the migration done as quickly as possible. What's your preferred method - physical and configuration wise to knock this puppy out??
1 Solution
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
This is my opinion and, like strong Soviet bus, there'll be others coming along in a minute.  This is how I see it.

You say it has "grown organically", which is usually a euphemistic way of saying that it was done in-house by a variety of people who moved on and left a mess behind.  The cabling may be a rat's nest, there's probably no wiring charts, no centralized management, no procedures laid down for modification of settings and there's no documentation of anything.  The fact that you're asking for help suggests that you've never tackled a project like this previously.

In this situation I'd bite the bullet and tell the department manager to get funding to ask for proposals from professionals to come in and examine the plant, then provide quotes on their recommendations.  And I'd require at least three references from those professionals, and check them out in person.
amigan_99Network EngineerAuthor Commented:
Well actually I haven't been allowed into the space yet to see what I'm up against in terms of the rats nest. It might be a mess or it might be fairly orderly. It's been there a long time and time will be of the essence. No time to call in professional cablers to make it look pretty. The wiring needs to get onto the new switch and the time frame is limited. You could label each cable ahead of time and then un-patch the lot and then cable up to the new. You could move one at a time in sequence 1/1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4. You could start with the bottom module and work up. Any thoughts on the sequence of moves that would be most efficient?
What type of facility is this? It sounds like either a hotel, plant, or just a company that is adverse to downtime and having the work done during or just before business hours.

I'd be pushing the point to be able to assess what I'm dealing with BEFORE planning out the work. You might find that you need several sets of hands to get through the job. Might even find a need to need to trace a ton of cables before you can do some of the work.

But yes, key number one is to have the configuration already on the new switch. That's going to save a heck of a lot of work. Cabling is never a fun job to go through, even for just the replacement of a large switch. Label the cables.

You're also going to want to eventually push to create documentation if it does not already exist, such as a wiring diagram. I had to do a cable job for a church where there were a number of cables that were never connected to patch panels. I initially assumed that the one cable I didn't have time to move into the panel was unimportant, and it turned out it was the one that went to the server room!

Nothing wrong with getting a job done quickly, but you also want to work smarter, not harder.
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amigan_99Network EngineerAuthor Commented:
It's just an office building needing to replace switches. The config of the new will be in place on the new switches and there is a downtime called but it can't start until after regular business hours. The thing is we're moving over 1000 patch cables. If we label the cables then by rights we shouldn't have to do much in terms of tracing cables. But you raise a good point about viewing the situation before hand. If it's the case that the cables are a tangled mess then labeling and moving could be more complicated than otherwise. I'll get someone to at least get a picture over. Documenting will happen - some before, some after and some from automated tools that are long in place.
If the cabling is a mess then I would try to use new cabling so that the cable lengths are not too long and a color standard can be set.  Sweep through the ports on the old switch to identify ports that need certain VLAN's set and try to migrate VLAN by VLAN.  Do the smaller VLAN's first, so that you eventually only have the large VLAN's that can be moved by setting an entire blade to use that VLAN and moving all the cables at once.
amigan_99Network EngineerAuthor Commented:
Nice thought process. I'll see the IDF's this weekend and have to decide on the fly. Appreciate the suggestion.
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