The City of Moose Jaw is a Canadian prairie municipality with a population of more than 34,000 residents in Saskatchewan. Moose Jaw is an industrial centre and an important shipping junction for the area’s agricultural produce. With a network that was reaching end of life, the IT department began the search for a solution that could meet speed and price performance requirements.
“We needed to increase bandwidth to support new applications and workloads, and were interested in moving to a 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) backbone within City Hall,” said Ryan Nelson, Assistant Manager of Information Technology at City of Moose Jaw. Nelson put feelers out in the market for networking solutions that would meet the City’s needs, but was presented with options that were excessive. “Being a smaller municipality, we have a handful of servers requiring two 10 Gb interfaces per server. In total, we only require 8 to 10 ports but were presented with 24 or 48 port options, leaving us with large switches that would be less than half populated,” said Nelson.
We are managing all 9 switches as a single logical switch. For a small IT team, from a management perspective, it is advantageous - we simply log into one single interface and can make all the changes.”
A chance encounter at The Municipal Information Systems Association (MISA) show in Banff led to deeper discussions with the Brocade and Scalar team. “We took some time away from the conference and talked through our requirements. I discovered Brocade have switches that can be configured modularly, which is a perfect fit for our municipality” said Nelson. Premium switches share advanced services with entry-level switches while delivering centralized management, providing the City a great deal of control over how they deploy the network. They receive the benefits of the stack without the typical limitations.
Brocade and Scalar worked with Moose Jaw to map out an architecture for their four floors at the City Hall location plus the data centre. “One of our major requirements was to find a solution that could provide us with 10 to 12 ports of 10 GbE connectivity in our data centre, alongside 1 GbE connectivity within the same stack,” said Nelson.
Nine Brocade ICX 7450 switches were deployed in the main location. The 3 modular expansion slots enabled the City to create a fibre optic ring within the network at City Hall, providing fibre optic connectivity between all the switches. The ring topology provides redundancy if a single link fails. “We are managing all 9 switches as a single logical switch. For a small IT team, from a management perspective, it is advantageous – we simply log into one single interface and can make all the changes,” said Nelson.
ICX 7250 switches were purchased for outlying locations. While the team was originally looking for a smart layer 2 switch, the layer 3 ICX 7250’s meant they could remove a number of routers from the environment, eliminating about a dozen potential points of failure.
Scalar and Brocade came up with a solution that met all of our needs and actually gave us functionality above and beyond my expectations, all at a fantastic price point.
Nelson described how the implementation went off without a hitch, “we set the switches up, built them as a stack, then one weekend we just replaced all the switches.” The prior network was copper connectivity, so in addition to deploying the new switches, the team installed fibre between the floors. They purchased pre-terminated fibre optic cables and strung them between the locations into the ring topology. “The work to get the switches configured and the VLANs built took one guy a couple of days plus a couple of hours to make the cutover over the weekend.”
“Scalar and Brocade came up with a solution that met all of our needs and actually gave us functionality above and beyond my expectations, all at a fantastic price point,” said Nelson.