Tuesday, 7 October 2014

You don't know what you got till it's gone...

Interesting day today which really confirmed Cory Doctorow's assertion last night that "everything we do today involves the internet".  You don't know how much you need something till it's gone. At about 1020 this morning we lost our internet connection. Part of a much wider outage affecting all Yorkshire and Humberside Universites, caused by an issue at our ISP. I'm not blaming them at all - things go wrong and as yet we don't know what caused it. There will be a full investigation I am sure, and measures will be put in place to reduce the risk of it happening again. In fact, up until today we have had an excellent service, and none of us can remember an outage like it. But, it really made us realise how dependent on it we are - for everything.

No-one could contact us - our website and all of the services it gives access to was unavailable. We couldn't receive or send email. We had no ourgoing connectivity, so we couldn't see the web. Our library system which is in the cloud was unavailable. And our VLE, which we have just outsourced to make it more resilient, was inaccessible. Oh the irony.

Comms was hard, but Twitter and Facebook were our saviours, as was a message on our Helpdesk phone line telling everyone to look at our status page.

We started seeing it come back about 1400, and it has remained up, but it's probably still at risk till they diagnose the cause. We coped, but there was lots of disruption, especially  for teaching and learning. The thought of the impact if this had happened at a different time of year - confirmation and clearing for example - doesn't bear thinking about.

So thanks to everyone in CiCS who pulled together, for our users who remained calm and understanding, and the Janet engineers who drove  to Leeds to fix it. Hope tomorrow is nice and quiet....

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