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Server crashes disrupt campus

Oct. 10, 2000



The Baylor e-mail server went down at approximately 6:15 Monday morning after a fan broke in the computer that houses the BearMail server. Staff at the Information Technology Center began working on the problem immediately, said Tommy Roberson, network security administrator..

Later in the morning, the Baylor Web server shut down because of a malfunctioning memory module. The two problems were unrelated.

Roberson said his department received concerns and questions from faculty and staff throughout the day because the server malfunctions slow down university business.

Dr. Michael Korpi, director of telecommunications, said several of his students were affected by the Web server problem because his notes are available online. Some students choose to print them out for each class session.

'Obviously [the server malfunction] is inconvenient,' Korpi said. 'The issue is basically why we don't have better backup.'

Korpi said Web servers should have duplicate parts to avoid these types of problems.

Roberson said there are redundancies in the system to avoid these sorts of problems, but the BearMail server and the Web server are a part of the same cluster, and the two machines coincidentally experienced separate hardware failures on the same day, creating the problem.

Carolyn Muska, associate director of Career Services, said students called complaining that they were unable to check times for on-campus interviews with potential employers that had been set up through Career Services because they were unable to view that Web page. Muska said the problem did not create too many problems because it was short-term.

The Baylor Interdisciplinary Core also relies heavily on the Web server.

Students enrolled in the BIC program are involved in active learning. They rely on syllabi and calendars that are updated daily with course outlines and links to assignments, Kirsten Escobar, assistant director of the BIC, said.

BIC students communicate through e-mail in reference to outside-of-class assignments, and Monday's failure affected the department in several aspects.

'We definitely have gained a greater appreciation for these things to be up and running,' Escobar said.

The BearMail server began running at approximately 2:30 p.m. and the server was restored an hour later. E-mails sent to Baylor e-mail addresses Monday while the server was down were delivered by this morning.

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