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DATA CENTER SHUTDOWN: All campus e-mail, other computer services to go down Dec. 26

By Dave Jones on December 3, 2010 in University

Campus officials are alerting staff, faculty and students to a Davis Campus Data Center service interruption the day after Christmas, putting a hold on all campus e-mail and affecting most of the other computing services that are hosted by the center.

The shutdown, to accommodate an upgrade to the Data Center’s power system, is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 26, and could last up to 48 hours, although officials are optimistic that the work will take far less time. Officials picked this time period because students and many faculty and staff members will be on winter break — and, therefore, fewer people will be relying on Data Center services.

One of the important systems that will be down is the one that collects student fees. Winter quarter fees are due by 11:59 p.m. Dec. 28 — so, students (and parents), take note: You will not be able to access the online fee payment system starting at 7 a.m. Dec. 26, and the interruption could extend to the morning of Dec. 28.

“The best advice is to pay your fees before Dec. 26 to avoid any complications related to the upgrade,” said Lora Jo Bossio, an associate vice chancellor in Student Affairs.

As for financial aid funds, Bossio noted that these will be disbursed before Dec. 26.

Significant shutdowns

The power upgrade project will shut down these computing services, among others:

  • Banner (Student Information System)
  • MyUCDavis
  • DaFIS (UC Davis Financial Information System)
  • Department servers and research computing clusters that are hosted by the center

Gabe Youtsey, project manager for IET, said the campus’s wireless network will be down, whereas wired connections will be up.

Incoming and outgoing e-mail will be stored during the interruption and delivered afterward. This applies to all campus e-mail, even if your particular e-mail server is housed outside the Data Center, which routes all e-mail, regardless of server location on campus.

Information and Educational Technology, which runs the Data Center, plans a series of communications over the next few weeks to faculty, students, IT personnel, researchers and the general campus community — detailing the level of availability of the Data Center’s various services during the interruption.

Youtsey said the UC Davis home page, and the Campus Network and Service Status page, will be accessible during the service interruption — because they will be hosted temporarily by the UC Davis Health System, which is not affected by the service interruption.

A message on the home page will alert people to the service interruption and direct them to the status page for more information.

Youtsey said the health system also will serve as the temporary host for the Central Authentication Service, or CAS — which is important for people wishing to access servers that are housed outside the Data Center but which still require users to enter Kerberos ID.

The campus’s Domain Name Service also will be up and running; this is the system that turns URLs into IP addresses and gets people where they want to go on the Internet.

Some websites will be up and running

Some UC Davis websites will still work — if they are on servers outside the Data Center.

For example, University Relations hosts The Campaign for UC Davis site and the Giving to UC Davis site — and both of these will be up and running. People who make gifts will see a confirmation notice on their monitors, but the follow-up confirmation e-mails will be delayed during the Data Center service interruption.

Environmental control alarms, for the safety of research animals, also will be unaffected — as these alarms run through servers that are housed at a satellite location, not in the Data Center.

“We will still have all of our electronic monitoring in place,” said Allen Tollefson, associate vice chancellor in charge of Facilities Management.

Tollefson said Facilities Management is shutting down power to the Data Center, rather than doing the work “live,” with the power still on, for the safety of the work team and to safeguard the Data Center itself.

The service interruption starts on a Sunday and, if unforeseen issues arise, could last through Monday, Dec. 27, which is one of the campus’s winter holidays.

Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 28 and 29, are regular workdays, leading up to two more winter holidays, Thursday and Friday, Dec. 30 and 31. If the past is any indication, many staff members will be out all week, as they combine their winter holidays and vacation time.

“While a service interruption is never ideal, this window of time was selected in close consultation with the Registrar’s Office, Facilities and other campus units so as to coincide with campus administrative holidays and to minimize impact on campus business and academic operations,” IET Vice Provost Pete Siegel said in a Nov. 29 e-mail to the Council of Deans and Vice Chancellors.

Siegel said the power upgrade is an interim step as the campus develops a broad and comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of server room space for research computing clusters as well as administrative servers, and to generate cost and energy savings.

Midterm strategies under consideration include retrofitting two alternate facilities on campus, as well as exploring partnering with other institutions to establish regional data centers.

Look for online updates here, before and during the service interruption. (This is the Campus Network and Service Status page, and it will be up and running while the electrical work is under way at the Data Center.)



Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,