PSU debugs email issues

IFY OSSAI | Collegio Reporter

Daryl Needham, systems administrator, says the recent problems faculty and staff have faced with their campus e-mails is that the current server is old and needs to be replaced or overhauled to meet the traffic demand.
“As it is now, if you put a little load in it, it’s go- ing to slow the entire system down,” Needham said. “And that’s why people have been having problems with their e-mail.”
Needham says the current server has not been up- graded in six or seven years. He says the IBM server was good for its time, but it’s unable to handle the increased server traffic.
“The poor thing is to its nose as it is right now, and if you add a little load to it, it goes under,” Needham said. “When that happens, the backlogs begin to develop and we see a real slowdown in faculty and staff email being processed.”
Needham says the campus is in need of a new server.
Timothy Pearson, assistant director for infrastruc- ture and security, says students have a different do- main name for their email account. The equipments handling students’ e-mails goes through Google’s servers and doesn’t affect the campus server.
“Google is a giant company and a few thousand students from Pitt State doesn’t make a bleep on Google’s radar, because they are very equipped to
handle it,” Pearson said. Pearson says when the current system was
installed, it was unusual for people to send large e- mail messages or pictures as they do today.
“We’ve tried to grow it as best as we could as the years went by,” Pearson said. “But it has reached a point where we have to say goodbye to the old system and bring in a new system that meets modern demands.”
Pearson says even if the old system is upgraded and given more speed, major features in modern e-mails would still not be included. He says a task force consisting of major stakeholders has been formed to help evaluate and recommend a new groupware e-mail system.
“They have been working very hard, and proba- bly by the end of April or maybe sooner, they would have chosen two or three candidates,” Pearson said.
Pearson says the two or three providers the task force considers will be presented to faculty and staff for their evaluations. After that, a final provider will be selected and work on the new sever will begin in the summer.
Angela Neria, chief information officer, says that they are considering three providers right now: Zimbra, Citadel and Horde. Neria says there is a strategic plan to replace the old IBM server with a new e-mail and calendar system.
“The present e-mail system and the calendar system are not relational, and that’s one of the things we’re going to fix in the new system,” Neria said.

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