Web services may be interrupted

Ashlee Clark

Students who use Western’s information superhighway may face a traffic jam next weekend.

Internet, TopNet and e-mail access on the Hill will only be periodically unavailable during the weekend of Sept. 12. The university’s servers will be moving from Wetherby Administrative Building to Mass Media and Technology Hall.

Dave Beckley, director of network computing and communications, said the servers will be down next weekend while they are disconnected, packed and moved.

The servers will be unavailable until they are reconnected in the Media Hall, Beckley said. He estimated each server may be out of service for about two hours.

“There will be interruptions in services, but not extended outages,” he said. “The down time will be as short as possible and not be the whole weekend.”

Beckley said that a small number of systems will be moved at a time to minimize instances when the servers are not accessible and prevent problems that would occur if all of the servers were down at once.

The time it takes to get each of the 60 servers running again “depends on how long it takes the system to be physically relocated” down the Hill, Beckley said.

Jennifer Hunter, a sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., said she understands the need for the servers to be briefly shut down.

“I hope it works out,” Hunter said. “I don’t really use the Internet that much, but it’s frustrating when you need to use it and it’s not there.”

The data center is being moved because the Information Technology department now has space in the new building, Beckley said.

“Part of the plan was to have the equipment and the people together,” he said.

Richard Kirchmeyer, vice president for Information Technology, said the data center staff will move into the new building Sept. 8 and equipment transfer will begin early Friday morning.

About 15 people will be working to reconnect the system, Kirchmeyer said.

“Internet access will probably be down very little, if at all,” he said. “Students should check throughout the weekend to see if they’re back online.”

Some students are doubtful that the system will be up and running as expected.

“Nothing ever goes like it’s planned, especially computers,” Browder sophomore Candace KirtleyCQ said.

Beckley said the IT department is aware that problems may arise.

“It’s always possible that something unexpected could happen,” Beckley said.

Kirchmeyer said that the servers should all be up by Sept. 15 at the latest.

“We’re just going to have to live with the inconvenience,” Kirchmeyer said.

The main systems will be relocated early in the moving process so if problems arise, they can be solved quickly, Beckley said. IT department officials met yesterday to decide which system, such as TopNet and university e-mail, would be moved first.

The space in Wetherby will be temporarily used as a testing center for new equipment after the move to the Media Hall, Kirchmeyer said.

He said their long term plans include creating a backup data center if something should happen to the current system.

Reach Ashlee Clark at [email protected].