ITS addresses recent online inaccessibility

Dylan McManis

It wasn’t long into the second day of the semester before chaos descended upon Washburn.

On the morning of Jan. 20, shortly before 8 a.m., MyWashburn, D2L and Elucian Go were inaccessible by Washburn students and faculty. Then, to much hurrah, the systems were running again at 10:50 a.m. before once again failing forty minutes later at 11:30 a.m.

After the first incident was resolved, Washburn ITS sent out an email saying everything was fixed, as Microsoft Office is the only Washburn online system not attached to MyWashburn. However, that victory was short-lived as Washburn students and faculty were unable to access the all important systems for the second time that day. A final email was not sent out that afternoon until ITS thought that the servers would hold out for a while, around 3:30 p.m., putting the server’s total downtime at almost 7 hours.

“I went to get my books yesterday, but I didn’t have the class numbers,”said ¬†Aaron Nelson, freshmen bio-engineering major. “I couldn’t get my books. I don’t think it should have happened,” Nelson continued. “That’s why you test servers.”

Nelson also pointed out that he accesses his email through MyWashburn, so using his normal method he couldn’t even check his email, making the emails sent by ITS pointless.

“If you have an online class, something like that can effect you going to class,” he explained. “There was another person who was trying to go to class, who couldn’t even find his class because he couldn’t access the site.”

On the second day of class, not being able to access MyWashburn certainly was an inconvenience, and it definitely registered on the radar of CIO director Floyd Davenport.

“It wasn’t the servers themselves that went down, but rather access to the servers that did. Despite the fact that D2L is up on the Cloud, its authentication process takes place here at Washburn,” Davenport explained.

“The problem was that we have what is called a Loadbalancer, so that when people log into MyWashburn, it balances the load on each of the individual servers so that no single one is overloaded,” Davenport continued. “But our Loadbalancer started having problems, we managed to get it back up for a little while, but it quickly went back down. We have been on the phone with the vendor, trying to resolve the issue…We have two possible back up systems, one of which will become our new system in the future, in case it goes down.”

Davenport hopes that ITS can get a new system up and running in place of the Loadbalancer sometime soon, possibly even testing the new system this weekend during the server’s regular maintenance time on Jan 24.

“Hopefully in the future, we can have both a main system and a back up system so that if one goes down we can switch to the other while we work on getting the first one back up,” Davenport said. “We understand the impact that the site being inaccessible does to the students and staff of Washburn, which is why we hope we can prevent these things from happening in the future.”