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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

VITA suffers server error, several agencies impacted

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

Just a few weeks after suffering a serious outage, state computer systems across a number of agencies are experiencing a server error.  VITA officials confirm that a “single server” that does webhosting suffered an application error impacting access to some agency websites.

NBC12 has obtained an internal email from the VITA Incident Management Team that outlines the problem. The email specifically lists the State Compensation Board, The Virginia Department of Emergency Management and The Department of Accounts as “known agencies” that were affected.

(A pdf copy of that e-mail is available here.)

According to VITA spokeswoman Marcella Williamson, the problem’s solution has already been identified and is in the process of being implemented. Williamson said the server error  “did not have widespread impact and is not a significant problem.”

VITA recently recovered from a massive computer failure that knocked 26 state agencies offline, including the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Social Services, both of which deal with the general public a great deal.  At the time Virgina’s Chief Information Officer Sam Nixon told us that the outage was “unacceptable”.

The problem shut down 13% of the state’s storage servers and led to an independent investigation ordered by  Governor Bob McDonnell and a public apology from the head of the state’s multi-billion dollar contractor, Northrup Grumman.

At this point, VITA has not released specifically which agencies were impacted. Laura Southard, a spokesperson from the Department of Emergency Management told NBC12 that their computers have been “up and down all day” and they don’t know when the problem will be resolved.

Williamson said in an e-mail that “One of the reasons for the existence of VITA and the partnership with Northrop Grumman is to watch for such problems, communicate with agencies — which we are doing — and implement solutions as soon as possible.”

Williamson also said the problem was minor, because it was one server among 3,600 that VITA operates. She said a redundant server set cannot be run on every single server because of cost issues, but did say that all the system’s data is 100% backed up.

UPDATE: VITA reports that server is back up and running. It was out between 11am and 2pm.

Written by Ryan Nobles

September 30, 2010 at 3:46 pm

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