More information about August 8-10 network outage

A significant on-line service outage affecting campus and downtown offices will occur beginning at 8:00 P.M. on Friday, August 8 and continue until Noon on Sunday, August 10.  

During this time the only services that will be available will be Bmail (and related applications such as Calendar, Drive, etc.) and the outward-facing Bucknell website.  All other network services (Banner, myBucknell, Netspace, etc.) will be inaccessible.  

When we undertake such a significant service outage, we feel that it’s important to let the community know why we’ve undertaken such a project:

We’ve reached a point where, in order to continue to support the increasing use of technology on campus, it’s necessary to make some evolutionary upgrades to Bucknell’s computing infrastructure.

Specifically, both our file storage subsystem and the network segment that provides connectivity between the myriad of devices in Bucknell’s data centers have reached their ultimate performance capabilities and must be replaced.  The equipment acquired for this replacement, at its base level, significantly exceeds current levels of performance and provides enough expandability to accommodate increasing campus requirements for several years.  For instance, the network upgrade within and between data centers will provide a tenfold speed increase in select areas, with expandability throughout when needed.

When you replace the engine in a car, you can’t drive while the engine is being swapped. Since the same notion applies for this technology replacement, L&IT is making every effort to minimize unavailability.  There’s a lot of information in the current file storage subsystem – enough to take several days to move – so we’re replicating that information to the new subsystem while the old one is up and running.  We’re also installing and cabling the new network equipment so it’s ready to swap in as quickly as possible when the time comes to do so.

Still, it’ll take some time to shut down the servers in the data center, perform a final data synchronization, move the new file storage subsystem into production, swap scores of network connections, and restart and test the functionality of Banner and approximately 350 other application and database servers.  L&IT estimates it could take up to thirty-six hours for final tasks to be completed.

Though this upgrade is happening “behind the scenes” and, frankly, won’t present much of a photo op, it will create the much stronger foundation needed to support the ever burgeoning technology needs of Bucknell’s students, faculty, and staff for a number of years to come.

If you have any questions about the outage, please contact 570.577.7777 or techdesk@bucknell.edu 

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