This afternoon around 3:00 PM routine maintenance on the PirateNet portal inadvertently caused some performance problems with the PirateNet servers. Blackboard and email access were unaffected by this maintenance, but users saw some intermittent error messages when accessing other services, such as Self Service Banner, Kronos time management or Cognos reports. This issue was resolved by 4:00 PM.
Stephen Landry, CIO
As previously announced, there are some exciting changes this year to the University’s Mobile Computing Program, providing state-of-the-art laptop computers to all faculty and undergraduate students.
For the past six years faculty and students in business, science and honors programs have been using a pen-enabled tablet in their classes. Through 2011 this was a convertible laptop / tablet hybrid (specific models used included the Lenovo ThinkPad X200t, X210t, X220t, etc.). In 2012 Seton Hall University joined Microsoft’s Windows 8 First Wave Program. Seton Hall became the first higher education institution to deploy Windows 8 and faculty and students in business, science and honors programs were provided a Samsung Series 7 Slate PC running Windows 8.
This year the Mobile Computing Committee of the Teaching, Learning and Technology Roundtable reviewed many options for Mobile Computing 2013 and recommended that the program provide a single hybrid laptop / tablet model for all students (except faculty and students in art, music and film who receive a Mac). The University’s selection of the Lenoxo ThinkPad Helix (announced in the IT News and Annoucments blog here and in the Setonian here) has garnered some attention in the technology press.
A news story on the Seton Hall University Web site can be found here:
Some examples from the tech press include:
Ultrabook News: http://ultrabooknews.com/2013/04/23/lenovo-helix-shipping-seton-hall-university-plans-to-deploy-2000-first-video-review-available/
Stephen Landry, CIO
All members of the University community are reminded that they should report any problems they encounter with Seton Hall University’s IT systems and services to the Technology Service Desk. Problems can be reported by calling the Technology Service Desk at 973-275-2222 or emailing them at email@example.com . If you are reporting a service outage for a production IT Service (Blackboard, MS Exchange, Banner, PirateNet, etc.) please call the Service Desk and ask them to alert the IT Services technician on call. IT Services professional staff are available 24x7x365 to work on production system outages.
As previously reported, there were two systems outages over the weekend caused by a hardware failure in the data center. Most IT Services were verified as being recovered following these outages. Some users on campus reported this morning that they experienced residual problems with the Oracle Reports Portal over the weekend. Service for this system was restored this morning.
Users are reminded to report any production systems problems as soon as they are observed. University IT Services has technicians standing by 24x7x365 to resolve any production system problems.
Steve Landry, CIO
Seton Hall University is pleased to announce that it has selected the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix as its device for Mobile Computing 2013. The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix is a convertible Tablet / Ultrabook that runs Windows 8. It looks and operates like an ultrabook laptop computer with ten hour battery life, but the screen detaches and can operate as a tablet computer with five hour battery life.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Helix has the following specification: Intel 3rd generation Dual Core i5-3317U, 1.7GHz processor; 4GB DDR3L 1333MHz RAM; 256 GB Solid State Drive (SSD); 11.6″ 1080p Multi Touch Display with Gorilla glass; Intel HD Graphics 4000 Graphics card; 720p HD Webcam; Integrated Intel Centrino Advanced N 62055 2×2 a/g/n Wireless card; Dolby Home Theater v4 Stereo speakers; 1 USB 2.0, 1 SIM card and 1 Minidisplay port (Tablet); 1 USB 3.0, 1 Minidisplay port (base); Digitizer Tablet Pen.
A full specification sheet along with pictures of the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix can be found here: Fall 2013 Mobile Computing Slate Specifications with Picture 02282013
Information about Seton Hall University’s Mobile Computing Program, which provides a standard laptop to all faculty and undergraduate students, can be found at: http://www.shu.edu/offices/technology/about-mobile-computing.cfm
This year’s selection process was guided by the Mobile Computing Committee of the Teaching, Learning and Technology (TLT) Roundtable that included faculty and students. I want to thank the members of the committee for this help in this year’s selection process.
Stephen Landry, CIO
The University maintains two large NetApp Storage Area Networks (SANs) that hold the data for most University systems. Sunday morning between 12:00 Midnight and 7:00 AM, NetApp upgraded the operating system for these SANs. This upgrade will improve the speed and reliability of this important system.
The SAN uses thousands of individual disk drives. To ensure that the data is always available, the data is stored in multiple locations across the SAN using a technology called RAID (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID). The SAN constantly checks the individual disk drives and takes a drive out of service when it may be failing. When a disk fails, the system restores the data automatically using spare drives built in to the system.
The new NetApp operating system installed Sunday morning has more extensive checks of the individual disks in the SAN. As a result, it marked dozens of drives as needing replacement and took them out of circulation. This caused a degradation of SAN performance while the SAN restored the affected file systems. Some systems lost their connection to the SAN while this occurred, causing short, intermittent outages on several systems yesterday and earlier today. All systems are now functioning normally.
Sunday, March 24, 2012, 11:00 AM
This morning during the normal weekly maintenance period beginning at midnight University IT Services upgraded the NetApp Storage Area Network in the University’s data center. This will add speed and reliability to the University’s data storage systems. Most systems were available during this upgrade, but there were some intermittent system outages during the upgrade. The upgrade was scheduled to complete at 7:00 AM this morning, however, some upgrade tasks continued in to this morning. Users may experience a few intermittent systems outages this morning until all upgrade tasks are completed. It is expected all system will functioning normally by around 12:00 Noon today.
This afternoon around 3PM there was a brief, intermittent wireless outage affecting some users. One of the wireless controllers failed. While there are multiple wireless controllers to provide redundancy, while one of the controllers was offline a some users were unable to log in to the wireless network for a time due to the volume on the other controllers. The problem recurred around 5:30 PM. Most users were not affected by this issue, but again some users were unable to log in for a time due to the load on the remaining controllers. University IT Services and Cisco are investigating the cause of the failure.
Stephen Landry, CIO
Update 3/13/2013, 9:00 PM: Cisco has determined the problem was a failed wireless controller. A replacement is being scheduled for installation. The campus wireless load had been re-distributed among the remaining controllers and all services are running normally. – - SGL
The Associated Press today released an article on smartphone use by teens, titled “More Youth Use Smartphones As Route to Web.”According to the article:
A new report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 78 percent of young people, ages 12 to 17, now have cellphones. Nearly half of those are smartphones, a share that’s increasing steadily — and that’s having a big effect on how, and where, many young people are accessing the Web. The survey, released Wednesday, finds that one in four young people say they are “cell-mostly” Internet users, a percentage that increases to about half when the phone is a smartphone.
The article mentions Seton Hall University’s Mobile Computing Program:
In New Jersey, Seton Hall University gives incoming freshman a free smartphone for the first semester. Among other things, they use them to help them navigate campus, connect with other students and follow campus news that streams on the SHUmobile app. Kyle Packnick, a freshman at Seton Hall, liked having one of the phones and said they’re particularly helpful for students who don’t come to school with a smartphone.
Read the whole article at:
Sunday, March 10, 7:00 PM
Since last week’s network outages, University IT Services has worked with Cisco, VMware and IBM to determine the root cause of the outage and take steps to ensure it does not recur. The team has identified the probable cause as a software bug in the network interface of the new IBM server cluster installed during the Winter break (December 2012 through January 2013). IBM is providing a software update that they believe will prevent this problem from recurring.
There are seven (7) IBM servers in the new VMware cluster. The plan is to apply this upgrade one server at a time. Since the cluster has built-in redundancy, no downtime is expected. However, to minimize the potential impact in case there are unexpected problems with the upgrade, the upgrade is being scheduled to take place each night from 11:00 PM through 7:00 AM beginning tonight, Monday, March 11th, through this Friday, March 15th. Please be aware that, while no downtime is planned, there may be intermittent systems outages during that time while the upgrades are taking place.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about these recent network incidents or the action plan in place to address them. As always, you can call the Technology Service Desk at 973-275-2222 if you have any technology-related questions or concerns.
Stephen G. Landry, Ph.D.
Chief Information Officer
Seton Hall University
This afternoon (Saturday, March 9) at approximately 3PM the campus network again crashed. Cisco and VMware worked with University IT Services to identify and resolve the problem. The campus network and Internet services were restored around 6:30 PM. Resolution again required a full reboot of the VMWare infrastructure, and most services such as Email, Blackboard, the SHU Web site, and Banner were restored by 9PM. Cisco and VMWare have analyzed this afternoon’s incident and believe the root cause of these recent outages is a hardware problem in the new IBM server cluster that supports VMWare. This server cluster went “live” over the Winter break (December 2012 through January 2013). University IT Services continues to work with Cisco, VMWare and IBM to determine the root cause of the outages and prevent another occurrence of this problem.
While core services such as Wireless, Email, the SHU Web site, PirateNet, Banner and Blackboard have been stable following Wednesday’s network outage, some residual network problems remain and are being addressed. Several systems such as Voyager, Kronos and Eprint required rebooting to resolve some residual effects from Wednesday’s network outage. University IT Services continues to work with Cisco to determine the root cause of Wednesday’s outage.
This morning around 7AM the campus network crashed. All services were inaccessible. Since the network management tools were unable to work, network technicians had to manually work on the network to isolate the cause. By 1PM the source of the problem was isolated to the Cisco switches in McNulty Hall. McNulty Hall was physically removed from the campus network, and the campus Internet connection was restored. The servers in the Corrigan Hall data center required a full reboot in order to connect to the campus network. Most campus services were restored by 7PM. The network link to McNulty Hall that is believed to be the cause of the network outage was disabled and McNulty Hall was reconnected to the campus network at 10PM. University IT Services is working with Cisco to determine the root cause of the problem and ensure the problem does not recur.
Update 2/22/2013, 5:30 PM: The campus firewall upgrade is being postponed due to scheduled campus activities. We are tentatively planning for the upgrade to occur over the Easter shutdown. An update to the community will be provided as soon as the new date is finalized.
Update 2/22/2013, 5:30 PM: The campus firewall upgrade is being postponed due to scheduled campus activities. We are tentatively planning for the upgrade to occur over the Easter shutdown. An update to the community will be provided as soon as the new date is finalized. – SGL
The campus firewalls are scheduled to be replaced over the spring break. This work is scheduled to start Saturday, March 2, at 6:00 PM and be completed by Sunday, March 3, at 7:00 AM. The University has redundant firewalls and Internet circuits, so Internet service will be available for most of this time; however, there may be several brief periods during this time when Internet service to the campus will be off. During these brief periods all campus services will be unavailable from off campus, including the campus Web site, PirateNet, Blackboard, Microsoft Exchange email, and Banner. Please plan your work accordingly. While most campus areas have been alerted to this maintenance and do not have any scheduled activities that would be affected by this maintenance, please let University IT Services know as soon as possible if you have any questions or concerns regarding this maintenance.
Steve Landry, CIO
As noted in a previous post, Apple’s iOS 6.1 contains a known bug that can cause problems when syncing your Apple iPhone or iPad to your Microsoft Exchange calendar. Apple recently released iOS 6.1.2 which fixes this issue. All iPad and iPhone users who are running iOS 6.1 or 6.1.1 should upgrade to iOS 6.1.2 as soon as possible. Users running iOS 6.1 or 6.1.1 should disable syncing to their Microsoft Exchange calendar until they upgrade to iOS 6.1.2.
This evening at 11:00 PM the campus Internet connection began experiencing intermittent problems. During this period some off campus users were not able to access campus services. The routers connecting the campus to our Internet Service Provider (ISP) were restarted around 11:50 PM and normal service was restored. Networking and Telecommunications is investigating this problem.
Steve Landry, CIO
Update 3/23/2013: The root cause of this brief Internet outage was identified as routing issues with Level3, the University’s Internet Service Provider. Some fiber cables were severed in one of Level3′s service centers, causing some temporary routing problems for Level3′s customers in this region.
There is a known bug with Apple devices (iPhones and iPads) running iOS 6.1 and connecting to MS Exchange email using ActiveSync. This bug causes excessive connectivity to the MS Exchange server, impacting performance for other users. It can also cause the Apple device’s battery to drain in a short period of time. To avoid these problems we ask all members of the Seton Hall University community with Apple devices to NOT upgrade to iOS 6.1 until Apple has a fix for this problem. We ask any community members who have already upgraded to iOS 6.1 to shut off ActiveSync to their SHU calendars. Apple is currently working on iOS 6.1.1 which fixes this problem. Meanwhile, the Technology Help Desk is working with Apple on a workaround, and expects to have a temporary fix for iOS 6.1 users on Monday (2/11).
Update 2/10/2013, 10:00 AM: Apple has provided the Technology Service Desk a temporary fix for the problem that some users are experiencing connecting Apple iOS 6.1 devices (iPhone and iPads) to MS Exchange email. To apply this procedure to your Apple iOS 6.1 device, you need to (a) delete your SHU Exchange account and any other push based accounts from your Apple device, (b) reboot your Apple device, and then (c) add your SHU Exchange account, as well as any other push accounts you may use, back to your Apple device. After applying this procedure, Apple recommends that you not process or respond to meeting invitations from the SHU email system using your Apple iOS 6.1 device until you are able to upgrade to iOS 6.1.1. Please call the Technology Help Desk at 973-275-2222 if you need assistance with your Apple iOS 6.1 device, or if you need assistance with any other technology issues.
Update 2/10/2013, 12:00 Noon: Some users have requested additional information about the Apple iOS 6.1 bug that is causing problems with some SHU email users. Some additional information can be found on the following technology news sites:
Update 2/11/2013, 10:00 AM: A broadcast to the University community was issued by University IT Services today asking members of the community to postpone upgrading their Apple iPhones and iPads to iOS6.1. This broadcast contains important information for Apple iPhone and iPad users who connect to the campus email system. The message can be found here: BCast_Apple_iOS61_20130211_1003
Update 2/12/2013, 5:00 PM: University IT Services is seeing evidence of the problem with users’ Outlook calendar “looping” on devices that have been upgraded to iOS 6.1.1. University IT Services asks that users continue to NOT use their iOS 6.1 or iOS 6.1.1 devices to open, process or respond to calendar invitation from the SHU email system while IT Services continues to investigate this issue.
Update 2/14/2013, 9:00 AM: Apple’s Knowledge Base yesterday posted an update on this issue. Apple recommends iOS6.1 users not use their device to process exceptions to recurring calendar entries. Apple indicates there will be an iOS patch for this coming out, but do not provide a target date for this patch. The article can be found at: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS4532 .
Lifehacker has an excellent (short) article that adds to “Safer Internet Day.” This article outlines ten good technology habits all tech users should have. Highlights include:
- Back up your data regularly
- Use secure passwords
- Know what routine maintenance your computer needs and perform it periodically
- Know about and avoid common Internet scams like phishing
- Know how to stay safe on public WiFi networks
- Know how to spot computer viruses and keep your antivirus software up to date
See the full article at: http://lifehacker.com/5978861/