03 October 2006

Server availability

Hiccups with the transition of Home Directories and Shares to ICT Services.

Our transition from older servers delivering common services now to be provided by ICT Services to a new generation of specialised servers to meet the needs of the Division is not going as smoothly as we would like.

In April 2006 the Division proposed the transfer of staff home directories to ICT Services. ICT Services embraced the proposal but still the transfer hasn’t happened because of the failure of the installation provided by ICT Services to do the job. The Division’s hardware for Home Directories is now out of warranty and increasingly unreliable. Because ICT Services is taking over the responsibility for providing Home Directories, we have not sought to replace this equipment, and now find ourselves exposed to a fairly risky situation where the service to staff in the Division could be interrupted. ICT Services has agreed to take on the responsibility of dealing with these risks in the interim while they get their service operational, expected to be within the next month. Our old system is being backed up and should it fail little if any work should be lost, but there may be an interruption to the service while an alternative is brought on-line. Staff in the Division will be advised of any disruption.

Still to come: email and collaborative services (like shared calendars and documents). The move to Exchange campus-wide has been approved, and now the process of planning the changeover begins. Mail is expected to be moved first, probably within the next six months depending on any issues that arise, but there is no indication of when the other collaborative services will be available centrally.

We have had problems with our specialised services as well: particularly the streaming video used for NowUC and some units for delivery of video-based support materials. It is hoped that a recent update to the streaming video system will alleviate some of the problems that have been experienced with the accessibility and reliability of the service. Users are being kept informed of our progress, and patience is requested as we bed down these leading-edge services.