Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Division of Information Technology
910.521.6260 | firstname.lastname@example.org
E-mail Outage Information
Faculty, staff and students,
We all are feeling the impact of our e-mail issue. We rely so much on our technology and when something goes wrong it truly disrupts our daily routine and productivity. To summarize the issue, over the weekend, one of the hard drives on our e-mail service went bad. Normally, this is not an issue as there is built in backup hardware. Some users did experience a slowing of e-mail services mainly due to a combination of the bad drive and another round of phishing e-mails. Once we filtered the phishing e-mails, things got back to normal and our vendor delivered a replacement drive. When we plugged in the replacement, which can be done while the system is operational, the drive began to rebuild. While the new drive was rebuilding and not yet fully operational, a second drive failed. The system cannot operate with two drives being offline. We plugged in a second new drive and set about rebuilding the server. The drive preparation finished early this morning and at 3:30 a.m. we began restoration of e-mail services from our Monday evening backup. These systems hold about half a terabyte of storage so formatting and restoring this much data takes a chunk of time.
There are two items to keep in mind. First the bad news, our restoring from backup means that some e-mails received between the Monday evening backup and the failure around 4 p.m. Tuesday may have been lost. Faculty and staff using Outlook with the legacy system may have a copy of messages from this time frame cached on their local computer. Other faculty and staff, and students who use Webmail, will loose email from this time period. Now the good news, any e-mail sent from outside UNCP since the 4 p.m. failure has been queuing on another system and will be delivered once operation is resumed.
Once service is restored, the queued messages will be delivered in a flood of new email. This will add load to the server, so initial response times may be slow. In addition email clients like Outlook will have to re-synchronize with the server, which will add additional load. Please be prepared for the slow response time. As the new email subsides and the email clients re-synchronize, performance will begin to improve.
Let me up front say, this equipment is very old and that is why we have been pushing to move faculty and staff to the new Exchange e-mail and to move student e-mail to Microsoft. Our Exchange system for faculty and staff has not only standby hardware but mirroring as well. Your e-mails are stored on a system in Oxendine and mirrored to another system in Lumbee Hall. If one entire system goes down, the second system maintains services. Of course, Microsoft follows the same practices for student e-mail.
The migration of faculty and staff to Exchange remains fully dependent upon our DoIT staff resources and your availability to work with our staff members. Currently, over 350 faculty and staff are on Exchange. For students, the move to Microsoft is being held up by an issue with the log in information. We are testing a solution offered by Microsoft as we speak. Currently, approximately 100 students are using the new Brave-mail system and the feedback has been excellent.
Sorry to be long but this is where we are with the issues and the steps underway for a long-term solution. We thank you for your continued patience and support. Please know we in DoIT, as you, want and depend upon reliable technology.
For more information about the DoIT relocation, please contact the Help Desk at email@example.com or 521-6260.
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PO Box 1510 Pembroke, NC 28372-1510 • 910.521.6000