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Idiots at work

Computer Outage on Sunday, September 22

The Physics Computer Facility staff is planning major work in its computer room this Sunday, September 22nd. We plan to install additional circuit breakers in our power center and to lay new power cables under the floor. This will require shutting down all power, and consequently all computers, for about an hour starting at 11 AM. The new circuits will support additional small computer systems, both public servers and "computing farms" for individual research groups. We have sufficient independent ("building") power available in the room to maintain a few low-wattage services, but E-mail, web service, and general computing will NOT be available for at least two hours, as detailed below.

This power outage provides a rare opportunity to work on all our systems simultaneously. We plan to rearrange equipment and remove some obsolete units. The detailed schedules for each service:

- Building networks will be interrupted briefly twice, in order to shift critical network equipment from machine room power to building power at the beginning of the period, and to restore the equipment to machine room power at the end of the period. Since all Department servers will be down, only local computing on desktop and research group machines will be available, plus access to external data (e.g., web browsing), until at least 1 PM.

- On our Unix/Linux systems, we plan to rearrange some equipment and remove our oldest system (pacific). Unix service should resume about 1 PM.

- On our Windows systems, we plan to install Service Pack 3 for Windows 2000 Server. Windows service should resume about 2 PM.

- On our VMS systems, we plant to investigate a new operating system version (7.3-1) and perhaps install it for production use. We also plan to remove an old server (PHYAS2) from the computer room. VMS will shut down 30 minutes early (10:30 AM) for system backups, and will return to service about 5 PM.

- The College's WebCT server will be switched to building power, like the network equipment, and will be down briefly twice.

The computer staff will make every effort to minimize inconvenience and damage during these significant changes. We will be in the computer room (2-4269) during the process, if you need to contact us.

John W. Heimaster, for

the PCF staff





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