Fitzwilliam Museum networking upgrade

October 29, 2019

Role(s): Museum project leaderThe Fitzwilliam Museum

🍵 1 min to read (suggested)

When I joined the Fitzwilliam Museum in 2018, I inherited a network that had been needing an upgrade since 2012. The Museum had an aging and insecure networking arrangement, with creaking hardware that broke down regularly, a WiFi that ran on the same VLAN, and a firewall that was just an ACL on the switch connecting the Fitz to CUDN. An outlying object store had been re-cabled, but not connected to anything, and a state of inertia had been reached.

Various surveys had been conducted for upgrade, progress had been made to get the wheels turning, but no impetus was forthcoming. We had to get this moving, so a series of meetings with Cambridge's University Information Services started to get the process underway. Agreement in principle was secured to move the Museum's networking infrastructure onto University managed architecture (large capital expenditure to get started - putting in new cables etc., reasonable operating expenditure leasing and maintaining equipment).

Funding was finally secured from Fitzwilliam Museum Development Trust and the process began. As with all technology related work at the institution, funding was at a premium, make do with less. The project needed considerable capital and operating investment to enable the Museum to move towards being a museum for the future.

Then the pandemic hit, and the project slowed as the University had to focus on response and availability of hardware was low.

The Museum's point of presence (POP) switch failed early in the pandemic, and UIS replaced this rapidly for us - which provided the stimulus to plough ahead. Cabling and firewall followed and by August 2022 (4 years after joining and just as I was about to leave) the project was almost complete. However, I didn't get email confirmation that the open ticket reached closed status until 26 June 2023. The UIS team that worked on this project were great, and I'm grateful for their support.

People I worked with

  • Michael Warren
  • Rob Howard
  • Steve Handley