If you were frustrated at your computer last week, you’re not alone. CTS was having a multitude of problems last week that frustrated students, staff and faculty.
From September 14-16, Oswego Web Mail was working on and off. On top of that, the ANGEL Learning system shut down Wednesday as well and was off for 48 hours.
Joe Moreau, chief technology officer of Campus Technology Services (CTS), explained that the two failures were separate problems. CTS has been working on upgrading the SUN systems software, which is where Oswego State’s Web Mail comes from.
CTS tested out the upgrade on September 13. After thorough testing; however, problems started arising on the 14, 15 and 16. CTS had to contact SUN systems to figure out why the upgrade wasn’t working, and they were sent a patch with new instructions. A patch for software helps fix bugs in the programming so that the system runs smoother.
This patch was installed Wednesday night and the system was back up early Thursday morning. The failure, Moreau said, wasn’t with the Oswego State CTS; instead, it was with a licensed company’s upgrade software.
As for ANGEL, Moreau said, that was a whole different problem. ANGEL is part of a bulk licensing for SUNY schools through a contractor called ITEC in Buffalo. The shutdown was due to a fairly significant hardware failure that brought down the entire ANGEL system for all users, including other college campuses.
It took nearly 48 hours, Moreau said, to fix the hardware problem. After fixing the problem, ANGEL was back online. ITEC also added more software to reinforce the servers.
Although the problem wasn’t directly caused by CTS on campus, students and faculty were inconvenienced.
"When the whole thing just shut down, that pissed me off. I had a very important e-mail to get for a lab at Rice Creek, but I missed it because e-mail was down," junior Alcides Torres said.
Senior Grace Maxon said it was frustrating and created concerns about ANGEL’s and the e-mail’s reliability. Junior Matt Mariani had been hospitalized for the first part of the semester and had come back ready to use the e-mail and ANGEL to catch up with his classes, but found out that everything was shut down.
Faculty members were also unsettled. Professor Becky Burch of the psychology department said that it was frustrating to have e-mail down.
The system failures are becoming a major reason why CTS has started considering a search for a new e-mail system, said CTS Associate Director Michael Pisa.
"We are beginning to investigate different companies to replace what we have," Pisa said.
According to Pisa, CTS will spend the current semester evaluating the possibilities of moving to a new e-mail provider, with a solid plan to move forward expected to be completed by the end of the fall semester.
So far, Pisa said CTS has recorded four major software or hardware outages so far this year.
"We got what we thought was a fairly robust and redundant system and would protect us from failure, hardware-wise," he said.
CTS will continue upgrading the systems at least monthly, especially for MyOswego and Web mail.
"We try to make sure all hardware is working well for students, faculty and staff," Moreau said.
CTS is working on several new projects over the next couple of months. They’ve just added a new spam filter to the Web mail to stop the phishing e-mails students and faculty have been getting where they’re asked to send an e-mail with their password in it. They’re also planning to unveil the new wireless connector on Oct. 9 that will cut out the middleman of the VPN client.
Moreau said the newest plan for CTS is to do a major upgrade to Banner 8, which is what houses the MyOswego software. If students have any questions, Moreau said, they are more than welcome to attend the campus technologies advisory board (CTAB). They meet the second Friday of the month from 8-9:30 a.m. in Campus Center 114.