Magazine article University Business

Utah State Suffers Course Management System Breakdown: For Want of a Switch, the Data Was Lost

Magazine article University Business

Utah State Suffers Course Management System Breakdown: For Want of a Switch, the Data Was Lost

Article excerpt

IT IS A MOMENT THAT EVERY IT director dreads. The system goes down and data is lost. Usually the data can be recovered from archived files--unless those archives are also corrupt.

That's what happened to the Utah State University in mid-November when the school's Blackboard system, tied to the statewide Utah Education Network, failed.

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The failure went undetected for several days, however, and any data entered into the system during that period has been permanently lost, according to Mike Petersen, executive director of Utah Education Network.

"The root cause of the November 16 Blackboard outage and subsequent data loss at UEN was a hardware problem--specifically a bad switch within the hosting infrastructure's storage area network (SAN)," says Stacie Gomm, USU's associate vice president for Information Technology Services. "It had nothing to do with the Blackboard software or its database."

The switch failure caused the database to produce a corrupt data file. However, because none of the applications tied to the system indicated a problem, it went undetected, and the corrupt file was copied into incremental backups of the system. …

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