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More Maintenance

ETA: We were offline between 9 and 10 pm Monday night… yeah… we aren’t happy with this vendor right now. Not even breathing on it at this point… sorry!


On Monday, September 6 (Labor Day holiday), there will be no Internet access to or from the college between 8 am and 4 pm due to planned system maintenance.

What this means is that there will be no access to the www site, Genesis, Blackboard, Library, Banner, faculty/staff email (although student Outlook.com email will work), or P drives/SRA.

What we will be doing is fixing the hardware that caused the problems in August.

Currently, the college has 1 mission-critical firewall that stands between the college and the Internet. Most of the time it’s pretty benign and you don’t see it working but it protects the college from Denial of Services attacks and other nasty things.

On Monday, we will be replacing the single device with a redundant, fail over pair of devices.

So we’re going from this:


To this:

Source.  (Since I’m putting in the footnote, see, I can steal it, since I’ve now credited the source. Clever of me, isn’t it?)

Even better, once we have the two firewalls in place, we should rarely (I can never say “never”) have to take the Internet connection offline for maintenance since we can work on one at a time.  When we work on one firewall, the other takes the full load.

Putting it in is more work since there’s more equipment to get working together. So that’s why it will take all day. Sorry.

On the other hand, students can still use textbooks, paper and a pen (yes, handwriting will still work on Monday!) to get any needed work done.

Also, watch this blog for updates. I’ll post any changes in the schedule here and I’ll post a quick notice when we’re done so you’ll know it’s safe. So bookmark me and check here when things go wrong… go wrong… go wrong… go wrong… go wrong…

16 thoughts on “More Maintenance

    • This is a more complex install than we can do ourselves, so we need the vendor to be here to actually do it. Kind of like needing to take your car to the dealer because the small shop around the corner doesn’t have the tools or the parts for a complicated repair.

      While Monday is a ‘holiday’ it is also a week-day where we can get the vendor on site to do the work. And we’ve actually watched, there are more people online at 1 am than at 8 am. So an overnight option really affects more people than less.

      But it’s a good question and I’m very glad you asked!

  1. Since school has started on Aug 23rd this is the second time maintenance has had to be done. This rediculious. How are suppose to get our work done with our online classes if the website keeps going down. Also you need to update the web site to support internet Exploer 8 and the new Mazzolia that is out.

    • Sorry ’bout that. The first time was supposed to be a quic-and-dirty maintenance where we got in and out and hardly anyone should have noticed. The hardware that went bad at that point was kind of like something you have that’s not quite broken but when you breathe on it, it finally breaks…. that’s what happened the couple of weeks ago.

      Today (Monday) is supposed to hopefully prevent that from happening again. In fact, the note after yours from Tom indicates it’s going well and they were able to keep the connection up much of the day….. 1 pm now, we’ll see how it goes….

    • Didn’t mean to ignore the browser question….

      IE8 pops up a window when you go to Genesis that says it’s not supported but it really does work fine. We’re working on getting that pop-up thing taken down.

      Mozilla is trickier. Genesis supports it, pretty much, but we really don’t have a lot of control over the message when you get to Blackboard. That is, when you click on your classes. That’s a Blackboard warning that you need to think about. It mostly works, but there may be unexpected things that don’t…. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for that one….

  2. Hello – the firewall upgrade is going well. We have been doing much of the upgrade “off-line” which has enabled the Internet connection to GCC to remain up.

    We’ll start the process to physically cut over to the new firewall in the 60-90 minutes.

  3. I’m confused (yeah, I know, that’s normal for me). It’s currently 12:15 PM (12:17 actually) and so far I have been able to access all services on the internet. I’m not really complaining although UI did tell my online students to plan accordingly and it would be nice if they knew they could actually get work done.

    Is the maintenance going on? Has it hit a delay? Come 4PM, can we all heave a sigh of relief that even if we have had connectivity throughout the day, it was a fotunate break and not just a delay.

    I’m suer the answer to these and other fine questions can be found on the MJ Blog!

    • See the note from Tom that says they were able to do a lot of prep work offline….. so things were probably going to go offline about noon…..

      We’ll see how things are going by 4 pm. Yup. Updates here as I have them! 😉

  4. Ok, hardware has been upgraded (actually replaced). This started ~ 2:00 Pm.

    We have connectivity from the inside of the College to the outside, but not from the outside to the inside. We know exactly what the problem is and are working to correct.

  5. Ok, we are back on-line after an outage of ~60 minutes earlier this evening. We are aware of what caused the problem and we will correct during an overnight maintenance window on an upcoming weekend.

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