To the layperson, for whom technical details are often omitted, or the denizen of the corporate world, for whom unrealistic optimism is the order of the day, the message from Director of Information Technology Mark Dieterich was remarkable for its candor:
"In just under two weeks, TStaff will be physically moving our GPFS file system hardware from CIT 531 to the datacenter in the basement of the CIT....There are some risks associated with this move....Hardware that is never shut down can sometimes fail to start again, especially after it has been physically jostled as it will be during its journey...If we lose too many disks, we could lose an entire GPFS file system....In this worst case scenario, we estimate it could be a week or two before TStaff and CIS will have things functional again."
Fortunately, the May 23 move was a success, chronicled in the progress log here. Except for a brief period when network access was severed, the Brown CS web site and list server remained functional, with no disruption visible to the outside world.
The next morning, Mark sent out one final message, explaining that in general, things went very well. He thanked TStaff, multiple CIS team members, and members of Brown CS who were wise enough to give his team the breathing room needed to do their work: "It was far easier to focus on what needed to be done and to take our time to fix any issues properly, when we knew the community was behind us and was prepared to give us the necessary time to troubleshoot."
Congratulations to Mark and all of TStaff for a job well communicated and well done. We'll look at the move in more detail in the next issue of Conduit.