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Spring Firewall Maintenance

Posted Date: 16 Mar 2021

Modified Date: 22 Apr 2021

Effective Date: 16 Mar 2021

In April, Northwestern IT is replacing the enterprise data center firewalls in both the Chicago and Evanston data centers. Near end-of-life, these firewalls must be replaced to ensure access to critical support and software updates. Schedule dates and work details, as well as a request for application and system owners to develop test plans, is available below.

Scheduled Dates

About the Work
These firewalls primarily protect the University’s enterprise applications, but the firewalls may also protect other applications or systems. If system or application owners are unsure whether this upcoming maintenance impacts their system or application, visit www.ittns.northwestern.edu/datacenter_fw/networks.cgi, and enter the server’s IP address or IP network to confirm. You must be on campus or connected to the University’s VPN to access the page.

During the maintenance, there will be a brief, approximately 10-minute network interruption. All network connectivity to hosts protected by the enterprise data center firewalls will be impacted in this 10-minute window. Northwestern IT will take precautions to avoid additional interruptions. However, other interruptions may occur throughout the maintenance window.

About the Change Freeze
From April 6–28, Northwestern IT is instituting a change freeze for the enterprise data center firewalls to prepare for this work. During this time, only emergency firewall rule requests will be allowed. We apologize for this inconvenience. However, the freeze is necessary to convert the existing firewall rules accurately.

Setting Up Test Plans
Anyone with a system or application protected by these firewalls is encouraged to develop both a pre- and post-maintenance test plan. Also, anyone with a system or application that connects to resources protected by the enterprise data center firewalls should develop a pre- and post-maintenance test plan. Examples of enterprise applications protected by these firewalls include WebSSO, Registry, myHR, NUFinancials, CAESAR, etc.

While these plans do not need to be a comprehensive test of the systems, owners should focus on testing all elements of each system or application that require network connectivity through the enterprise data center firewalls.    

Please execute test plans before and after the scheduled work. Performing a pre-maintenance test allows Northwestern IT to determine if any potential problems existed before the maintenance window. Northwestern IT will communicate the completion of the scheduled work immediately via service status posting. Application and system owners should plan to execute post-maintenance test plans from approximately 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 11 and from 7–11 a.m. on April 24.

A conference bridge will also be available throughout the maintenance window for anyone with questions or issues to report. Bridge details will be shared with system and application owners in early April. To report issues after the maintenance windows, please call 847-491-4357 (1-HELP) and press “0” to speak with a Service Operation Center representative.   

Anyone with questions or in need of assistance with preparing test plans can submit a request to the Northwestern IT Service Desk—call 847-491-4357 (1-HELP) or email consultant@northwestern.edu—by end of day Friday, April 2.

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