BREAKING NEWS: E-mail service returns

Posted 12:08 p.m., Dec. 2- GW’s e-mail system is up and running after a severe system failure caused it to go down at about 7:30 a.m.

There are about 20,000 to 30,000 e-mail messages in a “queue” that will now be sent out to users, said Ronald Bonig, executive director of ISS Technology Operations. He said the e-mail system can process 30,000 to 40,000 messages in about an hour, so users should have all mail within that time period.

Bonig said about six engineers worked to fix this morning’s outage, caused by a software problem in the front of the e-mail server.

He said software glitches are relatively normal in e-mail systems. Software problems can be caused for a number of reasons, including extremely large e-mail messages sent over the system. Bonig noted that more than 9 million e-mail messages were processed through GW’s system in September.

“You get glitches in all systems, just like your PC,” Bonig said. “There are millions of lines of codes. It is mathematically impossible to test them all.”

Last year, students were without e-mail access during a large part of January because of a major physical problem. Bonig said last year’s problem “fried the whole system.”

This summer, officials started phasing in Colonial Mail, which has performed better than the previously used Webmail. Bonig said benefits of the new system include the ability to handle more e-mail messages and continue running during virus scares.

For example, when the Sobig virus hit this fall, GW’s system slowed down but continued running. Bonig said some other universities’ systems were down four to five days because of the virus.

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