slowly coming back to reality

The summer is my busiest time at work. That is when there are the least number of people using the network, so that is when there are more opportunities for me to make major changes. And the period in the summer that is the busiest is the three weeks before the student arrive to start the fall semester. The rest of the summer is generally prep for those three weeks. Students moved into the dorms in various waves starting the week before Labor Day. Naturally the three weeks or so prior to that were more than a little crazy with late nights at work and long days over weekends inaddition to the regular work schedule. This years changes to the network were among the more ambitious plans I think we have ever attempted, and while it all worked out, it was not without its craziness along the way. I was in New Hampshire for a two day training class on a product we bought six weeks earlier, that was going live two days after I got back. Happily I did not find anything out during the training that caused us to have to make any changes to our plans. That waited until I returned and found a major bug in the product, or at least a major bug from our point of view. We bought a NAC, or a product that does Network Access Control for thos not up to speed on their network TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). This product was bought to replace an aging home grown set of labor intensive processes that achieved a limited form of the same effect. We are also planning on using this with the yet to be bought next generation wireless product. The NAC steps in when a computer first connects to the network and makes sure it is up to date on its operating system patches, has a required antivirus product and that the virus definitions are up to date. It can do much more than that simple list, but that is enough of a start for us. This a major step for us. It brought to light a problem with one of the antivirus products we support, which was a major time sink for our helpdesk staff. They had lines going out the door during the move in week.
Once we worked out that the new NAC was not the source of the problems, and that it was doing what it was supposed to do, my life got a bit simpler. I did loss a week repairing data jacks that were damaged over the summer but I am slowly starting to get back to regular hours and being able to focus on new projects. Or at least on those projects that got back burnered over the course of the summer.
I hope everyone else is having a less busy time of it and are able to enjoy the last vestiges of the summer season.

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