Yale’s data server failed yesterday evening.
Members of the Yale community were unable to access websites and email throughout Thursday evening due to a power outage. Beginning at approximately 6:30 p.m., all websites powered through yale.edu — including EliApps and Classes*v2 — appeared to have crashed. By approximately 3:45 a.m. on Friday, however, service appeared to have been restored.
This technical difficulty came at an inconvenient time as students were unable to prepare for midterms, complete online assignments or use Yale printers.
“This is a very rare occasion for us,” Peters said at 10:15 p.m. Thursday. “It is a major multi-point power failure, which we are going to need to do a thorough investigation to find out the cause.”
Peters said Yale’s primary data center, located on George Street, may have crashed due to a circuit breaker or computer failure. He added the two back-up systems — an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and diesel generator — both failed to kick in as well.
Peters added that on Thursday evening, electricians were on site at the George Street location. Yale ITS staff, he said, were rerouting all content to another data center on West Campus. He added that the data center on West Campus is of comparable size to the primary location.
“We will be working all night if we have to,” Peters said. At 10:15 p.m., Peters said he hoped sites would be functioning within the next hour. But it was not until many hours later, in the early hours of Friday morning, that service was restored.
While students already logged in to EliApps were able to continue using their emails Thursday night, those attempting to log in were unable to do so.
When asked why certain sites could be revived while others remained down, Peters said it was due to a combination of factors. He said Classes*v2 — the central portal for Yale courses, for example — is more technically complex because it has a multi-tier authentication system and thus relies upon another piece of authentication beyond CAS.
Liza Rodler ’17, a student technician for Yale ITS, said she heard the network crash was due to a failed air conditioning, which caused the central sever to overheat.
“We are waiting for someone with access to the data center to turn it back on,” she said. “We are telling [students] to wait and enjoy their Thursday night.”
At 10:30 p.m., Classes*v2 still displayed an error message announcing scheduled server maintenance for Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 from 7:00 am to 10:00 a.m.
Chris Bradshaw ’15, a student technician for Yale ITS, said the incorrect date displayed was likely a result of an archived page from the last maintenance over the summer.
“You go to Classes*v2, your computer realizes it cannot access it and then it gets redirected to something else,” he said. “That page is from the scheduled maintenance from the summer.”
Beginning at 1:10 a.m. Friday morning, students attempting to access Classes*v2 were redirected to a new website, sorry.its.yale.edu, which replaced the previous August message.
The technical difficulty created widespread confusion among students and staff interviewed.
Rodler noted this has far reaching consequences for the Central Authentication Service (CAS), adding that the printers across campus were not working because they function as one system that depends on the central server.
“We at the library have experienced an epic melt down,” said Eve Houghton ’17, a student employee in Bass. “We haven’t been able to check out books, discharge them or access Orbis to get to patrons.”
Rowillie Ross, a member of staff for Bass library, said ITS told the library that the issues were due to overheating. She added media equipment also could not be checked out, and the library was issuing temporary slips Thursday evening.
Hale Ross ’18 said that when he tried to access his email, he was met by an error screen that notified him the page could not be loaded. He said the timing was inconvenient as he could not check his email or update any Google docs.
“On Classes*v2, the server said it isn’t working,” Janelle Ferrara ’16 said. “I can’t do my homework or my problem set.”
Still, some students who were previously logged in to Yale websites prior to the crash avoided any difficulties.
Yaa Ampofo ’16 said she could access her Yale email since she had been logged on since earlier in the afternoon, but could not access other websites when she tried later in the evening.