All entries for Tuesday 21 February 2006

February 21, 2006

87% of GroupWise users have less than 10 hours of downtime per year

Writing about GroupWise Webmail Success? from Jim's blog

According to the helpful information propaganda on the Novell website "87% of GroupWise users have less than 10 hours of downtime per year." Which 87%? Really!!! I've had three times that much downtime in the last week!

Further, their spiel about GroupWise 7 goes on to quote a user who says that "In seven years, we have never had… e-mail outage" and according to Novell themselves "A single GroupWise administrator can easily manage more than 10,000 users; in fact several GroupWise administrators currently manage more than 20,000 users each."

So, having slagged-off Groupwise myself for a while and having read what people have said on WarwickBlogs I've come round to questioning whether it's GroupWise that's at fault at all. (This isn't saying that I believe all the crap on their website, but that I'm thinking about other possibilities.)

Since January 1st, there have been at least 7 major instances of ITS managed systems falling over, failing, needing to be rebooted, having hardware issues etc (scanning through their old newsflashes ). That is basically one a week, and doesn't even take into account database maintenance overruns that slow down access to various systems. This isn't an attempt to criticise ITS, but I'm wondering whether we are going to be any better off when we migrate to Exchange. Rosemary Gilmour, Director of IT Services, says that "we are in process of moving to newer technologies with greater inherent resilience, and once these are in place the risk of such failures will be reduced," but we've heard this all before.

Back in 2000-ish, fibre-optics was to be the big solution to the problem with Delivered Apps taking forever and a day to come up, let alone the Apps themselves. That wasn't fast enough, so another small fortune was spunked on Gigabit Ethernet. That didn't work either, so now Work Area desktops all have various common programs installed locally; which is what ITS were trying to avoid in the first place. On the plus side this means that the desktops in Work Areas do now do work well for their apparent main uses: checking email and using/printing from Office applications.

I suppose it's easy to find fault with the IT systems that we use, and I haven't really proferred any solutions. However, at the end of the day results count, and our email system is an embarrassment, literally an embarrassment. It is embarrassing to have to say to colleagues and collaborators that you've not been contactable for 3 days because your email system has gone down, and maybe they should copy in your Hotmail (or whatever) email address as that stands a reasonable chance of making it through.

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