In August 2000, Barry University's email system came to a sudden, sickening, crashing halt. And the problem was more serious than anyone realized at first.
The Catholic university, based in Miami Shores, Fla., suffered a three-day email outage when its Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Exchange 2000 servers crashed. Justin Moses, the systems administrator at the university whose duties include managing the Exchange servers, remembers the ordeal with painful clarity.
"At the time, our backup solution was not very good, so we weren't able to recover from tape very well," Moses recalls. "It took seven to 10 hours to do a recovery, then it would crash. It was a total mess."
The outage left many of Barry University's 18,000 students and 2,500 faculty and staff without email access. Moses says the university's IT group traced the problem to a faulty RAID controller in the Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) PowerVault 6300 storage array that was attached to its Exchange servers. He adds that Dell was very accommodating in replacing the component, once the university notified it of the issue.
In the wake of that event, the school's IT department, headed by CTO John Beaubrun, decided to move its Exchange data from direct-attached storage to network storage. Its goals were to provide better uptime (i.e., avoid a repeat of that three-day outage) and to perform backups and restores faster.