Seek and Ye Shall Find! ... we found a volunteer with network infrastructure experience!
Terry volunteers on the Tech Arts side as one of the weekend Technical Directors ... and now that child checkin falls under my care we've made a connection over the past couple months. I knew Terry was an IT guy at Bethel College, but I fault myself for not digging deeper into his job role and skill set ... I did invite him to join our IT Team, but he already volunteers heavily for Tech Arts.
Thursday afternoon I sent an email out to people I know are in the IT field, but not part of our IT volunteer team ... basically saying we need switch help and pointing them to my prior blog post and if they knew anyone to please contact me ASAP. I shortly got an email from Terry saying he was available to help ... turns out Terry is a Network Engineer at Bethel College and handles their switch infrastructure among other things IT related :-)
Terry, Ed and I meet for several hours Thursday night and it was most helpful. We identified some next steps and the start of a road map to get our infrastructure in better shape. Basically our first step is to segment the network up so it's easier to find where our problem(s) are. Step #1 is routable VLANs ... and thus we need a layer 3 router. Terry has dealt with Cisco and HP gear ... like many, he says Cisco is not worth the cost and thus Bethel is all HP ProCurve gear.
After discussing options and future growth plans we're looking very hard at getting a ProCurve 5406zl-48G and an additional 20+4 GBIC module to comprise our new big daddy core switch ... big unplanned purchases hurt :-( We'll also move our "core location" from the MDF/DMARK to our newest IDF which will also house our server racks down the road. While a good chunk of change, the 5406 would give us 60 ports freeing up 2 managed Dell 5324's ... and we free up another 5324 by yanking it from the server rack and running cat6 directly from the servers downstairs to the 5406. These would replace the remaining 3 non-managed switches of the 13 switches we have in our IDFs which is also a high priority on our road map. Someone asked in the comments if we're running all gig yet ... yes, were gig to the desktop everywhere.
So no decisions yet, but we've now got a direction in mind. I'm sure a good portion of Monday will be spent yakin about this :-)