GW repairs e-mail and GWIS2 services

Maintenance difficulties Jan. 15 slowed e-mail service throughout last week, but all problems were repaired and students can expect more reliable service in the next two weeks, Information Systems and Services officials said.

The difficulties started last Saturday, when Information Systems and Services, which maintains the GWIS2 server, attempted to replace recalled parts of the operating system.

The system was scheduled to be down only during normal maintenance hours of 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday, but engineers experienced complications putting parts in, said Bret Jones, assistant director of ISS.

The system was down until 2 p.m. Saturday and again for about five hours Sunday. E-mail, which is on the GWIS2 system, was affected and did not function during maintenance.

E-mail through GW Webmail and Pine interfaces remained slow throughout the week. Jones said the system was trying to catch up to the tens of thousands of e-mails scheduled for delivery during the maintenance hours. Jones said he believes part of the problem was a lack of storage space on the GWIS2 system.

Jones said the GWIS2 system should have all e-mails sent and will be running normally by Monday.

Many students said they found the delays more of an annoyance than a problem.

It’s a pain, sophomore Amanda Colgate said. I haven’t been able to send mail for three days.

Some students said complications with classes are more of a concern than delays sending personal e-mail.

I have an AOL account, but I mainly go through my GW account, sophomore Angelica Caramanica said. Class list-serves are all through Webmail.

To alleviate future problems, Jones said ISS will install more storage space for e-mail within the next two weeks.

Increased disk space on GWIS 2 will only be a temporary solution to the complications students encountered with e-mail accounts.

Jones believes the GWIS2 system is overloaded by about 30,000 e-mail accounts it serves. In addition to e-mail, GWIS2 handles faculty Web sites, Oracle Internet classes, the student homepage directory and other resources for students and faculty.

E-mail puts a strain on all other systems on the GWIS2 system. That takes away from the main purpose for having the system, Jones said. Because GWIS2 was designed to be a general purpose academic computer, Jones said ISS plans to remove e-mail from the system to alleviate all other system functions.

In the next 10 weeks, ISS will consider putting e-mail on a separate system with more storage. Jones said the new mail cluster will have more than double the memory space that e-mail on the GWIS2 system has now.

Designating e-mail to a separate operating system will offer students more stable and reliable e-mail service, Jones said.

ISS is talking to consultants to weigh the risks of putting e-mail on a separate system. Without any major complications, Jones said students can expect more reliable service by early April.

Having more disk space for e-mail would result in less complications and alleviate a lot of our problems, Jones said.

-Russ Rizzo contributed to this report.

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