The University of Warwick is upgrading its email system slightly ahead of schedule after a power outage temporarily downed its Novell GroupWise email system, permanently killing one of the boxes. The outage affected around 3,000 academic staff and critical services accounts.
A spokesman for the college says rumours of a failing UPS system are "not entirely true". He claims that after the power failure, a backup generator failed to kick in, despite a successful test run just a week earlier.
He told us the GroupWise system was the worst affected by the power problems. "Everything else was back up and running. It was obviously an inappropriate piece of software for us. It has been nothing but a headache since it was installed."
A statement on the University's site explains:
Major problems have affected some parts of the GroupWise email system used by staff and research students. Two of the Staff Post Offices - STAFF2 and STAFF3 - have experienced failures which are currently being worked on.
In the case of the STAFF2 Post Office, the failure is serious enough that we are expecting a prolonged recovery period - sufficiently long that it will not be practical for those customers with email provided on that Post Office to wait for it to return to regain access to send and receive emails."
The IT services team decided to shift as many accounts as possible over to a Microsoft Exchange pilot, ahead of schedule.
Staff at the university are "really hacked off" with GroupWise and have no kind words for the IT services team: "I'm really hacked off with GroupWise and I'm really hacked off that IT Services didn't listen to us years ago," one self-styled 'heavy user' told us. "We told them that the system wouldn't be sustainable, and sadly we have been proved right."
The IT boys, for their part, are keeping quiet. A team leader told us that none of them were authorised to make any statements about the failure. ®