Purpose of the Upgrade
We will be upgrading one of our two G28 networks to operate on the iDX firmware 2.1.3. Internally, we refer to the network being upgraded as the .2 network. This change is being implemented to allow us to increase satellite capacity on that network. Although the network is currently operating within acceptable tolerances, we anticipate that additional growth through the fourth quarter of 2011 and into 2012 may require us to increase satellite capacity on this network in order for us to maintain our quality of service. This change of firmware is required for us to support this anticipated increase in bandwidth.
History of the Upgrade
We began planning for this upgrade in late 2010. Prior to committing to the upgrade, we reallocated satellite bandwidth, altered inroute configurations, and moved remotes between networks. The upgrade plan was developed in conjunction with iDirect, who approved the procedure we were to follow.
The upgrade was scheduled for July 23, 2011 at midnight. Unfortunately, several things went wrong during that upgrade, including a corrupt database. This delayed the start of the upgrade until 02:00 on July 24, 2011. Further unanticipated difficulties were encountered, which slowed the upgrade process. By 05:00, the decision was made to abort the upgrade and restore all customers to iDS 7.0.7. Service was restored to 70% of the affected remotes by 08:00. The remaining systems were restored over the next 24 hours. In the weeks that have followed, I have discussed the details of that long day/night with many of you personally.
Based on what we have learned by analysis of the aborted upgrade, and further consultation with iDirect, we have developed a new upgrade plan. Under this new plan, the upgrade will not require an extended outage. In fact, during the upgrade each remote will only be offline for a total of 10 minutes. Details of how the upgrade will be conducted will be published here, once we have tested and validated the new procedure.
Testing the new Procedure
Testing of the new upgrade procedure will be conducted August 27th-28th during our normally scheduled maintenance window. In order to validate the procedure, the .2 network will be shut down at 00:15 on August 28. Service will be restored by 00:45 on August 28.
No configuration changes are being made to any customer equipment, and there will be no impact to service beyond the maintenance window.
Once we have had the opportunity to review the results of this test, we will publish a detailed rollout plan for iDX.
Communication During the Test and Upgrade
Based on the conversations that I have had with our customers, we will be piloting the publishing of real-time updates on twitter, making sure everyone is informed. I will be publishing updates every few minutes during this weekend’s test. I encourage feedback during and after this process – I want to make sure that what we implement works for our customers.
On a final note, we know how important our service is to you, and we know that your business depends on our service… ours does, too. We remain dedicated to improving the quality and value of the services that we provide.
All the best,
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