Power outage causes ACES system shutdown

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By Michael Peters

mpeters28@student.alamo.edu

ACES learning portal experienced a system outage Monday because of an electrical power failure at this college.

District information technology services alerted employees of the issue at 1:23 p.m. through email. An email was sent to students at 3:14 p.m. saying systems are up and operational.

Dr. Thomas Cleary, vice chancellor for planning, performance and ITS, said it was not a technical issue with the system, but a loss of power that caused the shutdown.

District officials are looking into exactly what caused the power outage, Cleary said. “(It) could be faulty equipment, human error, any number of things,” Cleary said.

When power is lost, the uninterruptable power source, or UPS, is designed to maintain power for short-term usage just long enough to properly shut down the servers. “Without storage, the servers can’t do anything,” Cleary said.

The storage area network, or SANs device, recognized the power loss and began properly shutting down the servers. “ACES, and Banner, is a whole series of servers and everything is connected to a storage area network,” Cleary said.

He said the most important thing is to make sure transaction records are safe.

“We have 12.5 billion records, and transactions occur every second,” he said.

Records are kept of every financial transaction on ACES, any academic transaction such as registering for classes and anything done in Canvas by students or faculty.

A crash could cause record corruption, hardware failure and software corruption. No records were lost, damaged or affected by the shutdown.

Cleary says there are more than 200 UPS machines, which are located at every campus and district site.

This college’s UPS machines are in Fletcher Administration Center. The ACES and Banner servers are at this college. “We never want to use them, but we’re glad we have them and they worked properly,” Cleary said.

Power in the building was not lost.

Cleary says a system shutdown because of UPS power drainage has never before occurred in his six-plus years with district ITS.

After the power was re-energized, the servers were turned back on.

“There are lots of servers, so it takes time,” Cleary said. “It’s not like turning your computer back on.”

For technical difficulties, contact the help desk at 210-486-0777.

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