High SIS traffic causes brief outage Tuesday
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 07:09
Unusually high traffic on the first day of classes caused the Student Information System (SIS) to crash briefly Tuesday afternoon, delaying registration and access to the system for students.
The issue began shortly before 5 p.m. and lasted for about an hour.
Dawn Irish, director of communications and organizational effectiveness for University Information Technology (UIT), said that such hiccups are to be expected of an aging system.
“There was a lot more activity than has ever been seen on the first day of school,” Irish said.
The outage stemmed from a flurry of activity at the end of the day on Tuesday that backed up the SIS database, she said.
“In older systems, each day there is a database of activity that happens,” Irish said. “New systems will purge that database daily, but in old systems you have to purge it each morning.”
Several students also reported difficulties adding or dropping classes before 10 a.m. and in the late evening, although Irish said UIT had not received any report of problems during that time.
“Early Tuesday at around 9 a.m. I tried to use SIS and it wasn’t working. Later at night, after I had dropped several classes, I could sign in, but as soon as I tried to register it told me I was unable to do so,” senior Carly Boxer said. “I was sitting there continually refreshing my browser trying to get it to work.”
UIT and Student Services are about halfway through a two-year project to replace the 30-year-old system with a new one.
Such glitches will not occur once the new system goes into general use for students by the start of the 2013-2014 academic year, according to Irish.
The new SIS will eliminate the need for daily scheduled maintenance that prevents students from accessing the system during certain hours, she added.
“That will be a thing of the past,” Irish said.
UIT staff members are currently implementing the “invisible” parts of the new system, like working with the Registrar’s Office to establish a course catalogue database, Irish said.
“We’ve been implementing the new system bit by bit,” she said. “The stuff that has been implemented so far are administrative things that happen in the back end.”
Until then, the hiccups and daily maintenance will continue to plague SIS.
“It’s like an old car that you’re trying to get the most mileage out of,” Irish said. “Things go wrong.”