Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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E-mail service returns

After a week of server slowdowns and failures, most students were able to access almost all GW e-mail functions by Sunday. As of Sunday night, ISS officials reported that e-mail had been restored to user inboxes back to the beginning of semester, Jan. 11.

Students said they found other ways to communicate with family, professors and friends besides e-mail in the week and a half the server was down. They said the biggest frustration was being unable to access e-mail addresses and phone numbers stored in their GW accounts.

Sophomore Maggie Wu said that as a community host, she needs to use her GW account to access a list of coworkers’ e-mail addresses.

“I don’t need shifts covered (right now), so it’s fine for me,” she said. “But just in case I would need to do it … ”

“I haven’t been able to send any e-mail to my professors or my family in Turkey,” said sophomore Oz Tolon, who said once he could access his e-mail Sunday, he received other people’s messages in his inbox. “It’s also very bad for the aspect of confidentiality.”

Some students had access to GW’s e-mail server since Wednesday night, but many were unable to log in because technology officials limited the number of simultaneous connections to 500.

While re-indexing messages to re-send to user mailboxes after a hardware failure Friday, Jan. 24, engineers encountered another problem that slowed down the e-mail server and disallowed access to some accounts.

Director of Technology Engineering Bret Jones said technicians from Sun Microsystems, the company that manufactures GW’s e-mail storage hardware, believe the vast amount of data the server was handling caused the slowdown.

Information Systems and Services increased the quota of student inboxes from 20 megabytes to 25 last week in response to student concern about quotas filling up while e-mail is down.

“It was a difficult decision. One of the reasons we’re having the problem is because the quotas were so big,” Jones said. “There’s such a massive amount of data there.”

GW’s e-mail server processes about 150,000 messages a day, Charlie Spann, who runs the ISS help desk, told The Hatchet last week. ISS will restore the quotas to 20 megabytes when the system is functioning normally again.

Sun engineers have identified the cause of the hardware failure that brought the e-mail server down last Friday, he said. Part of the circuit in the main engine that runs the controller, which allows students to view their Webmail inboxes, stopped working.

Jones also said the ISS staff is re-sorting all of the old e-mail files saved on the server to re-send.

“It’s like during the anthrax (scare), when they held all the mail at the post office,” Ron Bonig, executive director of technology operations, explained last week. “We’re holding all the mail and we’ll give them to you when we know it’s safe.”

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