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By D. Shayne Christie
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 9, 1997

Accidental bump shuts down UA e-mail servers

The UA's e-mail servers were knocked off line Tuesday after an employee bumped into a power supply, a computing manager said.

About noon, a Center for Computing and Information Technology employee disrupted power to the system's disk drives, said Viji Muralidharan, computing manager for CCIT.

After the interruption, the entire system had to be restarted, Muralidharan said. The process took 90 minutes.

The shut down made it impossible for some users to access their accounts, Muralidharan said.

The campus computer system experienced similar symptoms in September when users were frozen out of their "u.arizona.edu" accounts because of an overload in the number of attempted logins.

"We had maximum login exceeded," Muralidharan said,

CCIT has taken steps to keep that problem from happening again, Muralidharan said.

On Oct. 5 three servers were added to the system allowing for 200 more logins.

"Two of them (servers) are for logins, so people won't be denied access," she said

Since the addition, Muralidharan said, no one has reported difficulty logging in.

"I've been keeping track, I haven't seen any problems"

Each year, she said, more and more students use e-mail and other on line services.

For example, Muralidharan said, this year all 4,500 new freshman were assigned accounts.

In addition, 60 classes now require students to have e-mail, and there are 380 class related list serves, she said.

List serves allow a group of users, like a class, to post messages to a list serve address which are then distributed to the entire group.

"People now depend on e-mail as a primary method of communication," Muralidharan said.

Art Jacobson, support systems analyst with CCIT, said every semester is busy at the beginning and the end, and slower in the middle.

"I would say that now we have more and more customers and as a result more and more calls," Jacobson said.

The CCIT help desk, which employs roughly 16 people - half of them students - is busy most of the day answering calls that "run the gamut," from e-mail to PC questions, Jacobson said.

There has been an increased number of calls about e-mail, but "nothing drastic," he said.

CCIT needs more resources, not just hardware but also people to deal with the ever-increasing demands of the student population, Muralidharan said.

"CCIT is developing an electronic communications strategy, with both immediate and long term plans and actions," she said.

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