Campus computer systems performing better after thorough Y2K preparations
|Rafael Macias of The Current|
Business Marketing major Hetal Patel (freshman) and Finance major Ray Elking (junior) obtain stock quotes online in between bites at the Cyber Cafe located in the University Center.
When the clock struck midnight on New Year's Eve, officially starting the year 2000, the feared Y2K bug turned out to have no effect in much of the world. The same was true for the University of Missouri-St. Louis computer system.
Jerrold Siegel, coordinator of Campus Computing, said there were no Y2K related problems with any of the campus' software or servers.
"We've been working for about two years just systematically going through the server and looking at the systems, working with vendors to determine where problems are, replacing hardware where that was necessary, but mostly replacing software and updating software with patches and fixes," Siegel said.
Siegel said that there were virtually no pieces of hardware or software on campus that weren't visited. He said they were still receiving Y2K-related fixes for software from vendors on New Year's Eve.
Siegel said the result of the Y2K updates is better performance.
"A lot of times, (software) vendors honestly just took the time to do things better," Siegel said. "They also took advantage of the situation and just basically installed fixes and patches that increased performance and did other things."
One of the biggest Y2K updates occurred in both the student and faculty and staff dial-up software. In November, the faculty and staff dial-up system changed, followed by changes in the student dial-up in December.
Siegel said the changes were inevitable and have made the dial-ups more user-friendly.
"The old dial-up system which was originally designed for Windows 3.1 involved a whole bunch of configurations," Siegel said. "This one, you just use the dialog box, you put your name in and a password, and you are home free.
"It's more stable. I think the connections should be taking place more quickly and we will be able to put in more high speed lines. We are going to have a significant number of 56K lines with the new system that we didn't have before."
Though the Y2K preparations were thorough and time-consuming, Campus Computing managed to minimize spending, Siegel said.
"A [dollar] number was associated with that but a lot of that was opportunity cost in a sense that people who were on staff did that rather than doing something else," Siegel said. "We never hired anybody to do it and very rarely did we spend money. The fixes and everything were forthcoming."
Siegel said that while some of the apocalyptic predictions were amusing, Y2K did bring some good things for the UM-St. Louis campus computing system.
"It certainly provided us with a framework to review all of our systems, and our vendors, I think, took advantage of it to upgrade, and it sort of helped us confront the issue of upgrading software in general and to fix some Y2K problems in the process," Siegel said. "We certainly have a much more stable system than we did earlier and certainly a lot of that motivation was addressing this problem, no matter how serious it may have turned out to be."