Midterm stress may be even more prevalent this weekend for College of Engineering students due to an upcoming service outage on the Computer Aided Engineering Network.
Engineering students were informed via e-mail on Feb. 1 about the outage on the CAEN server — an online resource that many Engineering classes, especially programming classes, use for projects and research. The outage is scheduled to start today at 6 p.m. and end at on Sunday at 4 p.m., CAEN Director Mark Giuffrida wrote in the e-mail.
The reason for the outage is that the University’s primary data center, the Michigan Academic Computing Center, is scheduled to conduct a diagnosis of all electrical equipment problems, including some MLibrary services such as Deep Blue and Mirlyn Classic, along with the CAEN server.
“The purpose of the outage is to diagnose and if possible to fix serious problems that have led to past unplanned power outages of the entire facility,” Giuffrida wrote.
Paul Killey, the University’s executive director of Information Technology and CAEN, wrote in an e-mail on Wednesday to all Engineering students that the timing of the outage was previously scheduled and the repair is unavoidable. He added that the repair needs to be completed to avoid future problems with the system.
“The likelihood and negative repercussions of another unplanned outage made the risk of deferring the outage too high to accept,” Killey wrote.
Despite the need for repair, Giuffrida wrote in an e-mail interview yesterday that he is worried about the scheduling of the maintenance.
“We are very concerned about the timing of the outage,” Giuffrida wrote. “CAEN would never under normal conditions schedule an outage that affected these kinds of resources at a point in time like this.”
While the system will be down, the e-mail states that students should have access to the wired and wireless networks within the College of Engineering.
Engineering junior Jakob Hoellerbauer said he thinks the outage is inconvenient because many Engineering midterms are next week.
“I have an EECS 280 midterm, which is a programming class, and it doesn’t directly affect the midterm because I have to study for it on my own, but it would help if I could have practice with programming,” Hoellerbauer said. “And for that class it’s best to use Linux on the CAEN system. It isn’t imperative to defining my grade, but it would be an extra benefit.”
Hoellerbauer added that his research, which is a mandatory requirement for the Michigan Research Community, will be affected by the outage.
“I have to use MATLAB and some other software that is only available on the CAEN server,” he said, “I was hoping to do some research over the weekend since during the week I have homework, and I barely have time to do research, so that kind of put a dent in my plans.”
Though the inability to access CAEN will be inconvenient, Giuffrida wrote in the e-mail interview that students and faculty were given advanced warning.
“Engineering faculty were contacted about the issue early on as well,” he wrote. “We have encouraged them to contact us individually if they have specific questions and issues. Many have done so already. My suggestion to the students when we first contacted them about the issue on Feb. 1 was to plan ahead.”
Engineering freshman Lena Schneewind said she felt students were fairly warned about the outage.
“We got two e-mails about it, and there were signs in every building that CAEN was going to be down,” Schneewind said. “If (students) were organized and prioritized their time, then the outage shouldn’t have had that huge of an effect on them.”