IT News

Solving Complex Problems: Root Cause Update December 2013/January 2014

The Root Cause team in IT is tasked with finding the causes of significant IT issues that affect campus. In this news update we draw your attention to some of the problems we have handled in the last two months.

Outlook Email – (Exchange Upgrade and Mailbox moves)
In Mid-December the network servers used to provide email and calendar services to Faculty and Staff were updated on December 17, 2013.  The change was made as recent Microsoft updates caused compatibility and technical issues with WCU’s current environment.  Once the server was configured and setup, Faculty and Staff mailboxes were scheduled to move from the current server over to the new server.   The Division of IT staff mailboxes moved before the Christmas break with the remainder of the campus moves scheduled for the first of January.

The physical move of the mailboxes from the current Exchange Server over to the new Exchange Server was successful.  However, several issues with the Outlook client software used on the Windows and Macintosh Operating Systems occurred. The majority of these issues were resolved by upgrading the Outlook software on the Faculty/Staff computers to a newer version or by running the repair tool within Outlook (Repair tool instructions available for Microsoft Outlook).

Another issue experienced across campus was of extreme slowness and loss of connectivity to the server while within the Outlook mail client.   An Email ‘TIGER’ team was created consisting of staff representation from the Systems Operations, IT Help Desk and Networking units to review and address the ongoing issues.  The team worked with Microsoft Engineers to identify the root cause of the issues in order to identify the necessary corrective actions needed to increase speed and continued connectivity to the email system via the Outlook mail client.

During the server upgrade, mailbox moves and issues using the Outlook mail client, Faculty and Staff were able to login to Outlook Web Access (referred to as OWA) to access and use email.

Catamount Mail – (Safari Web Browser and missing icons)
Students accessing catamount mail using the Safari 5.1.0 web browser on Mac OS 10.6 or earlier reported that they were unable to create new email, add attachments or successfully sign out of Catamount email.  This compatibility issue developed between Office 365 and the Safari Browser.   Students were instructed to use an alternate browser to access catamount mail as a work-around until Microsoft could identify a solution.  After several weeks Microsoft released and deployed a patch which resolved the compatibility issue between Office 365 and older versions of Safari.

December 2013 Global Problems: (Total 9)
• Printer: 1
• Data Management: 1
• Email, Calendaring & Collaboration: 3
• Network/Telecommunications: 4

January 2014 Global Problems: (Total 22)
• Accounts: 1
• Data Management/Application Maintenance: 2
• Data Management/Banner Performance: 2
• Email, Calendaring & Collaboration: 3
• Network/Telecommunications: 7
• Server:  5
• Web: 2

The Division of IT is committed to adopting a proactive, process-oriented approach to prevent problems before they arise. We will continue to keep you informed on our progress.