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February 4, 2011

2/11/11 Bb Downtime & Known Issue: Abnormal Usage "Spikes"

As part of DoIT's regular scheduled maintenance window, Blackboard will be down next Friday, February 11 (10 p.m.) to Saturday, February 12 (1 a.m.) to address abnormal database utilization "spikes" occurring several times a day since the start of this semester. Normally, Bb operates at about 20-30 percent of system capacity, but DoIT has seen spikes of nearly 100 percent, resulting in very slow performance for up to 30 or even 60 minutes each occurrence.

We've heard similar reports from other institutions that have upgraded to version 9, and have been exploring their suggested fixes. We've also been working with Blackboard, which has recently recommended a two-step approach: 1) replacement of a key database function that will occur during next week's downtime, and 2) re-indexing of the entire database.

This re-indexing step #2 would require at least 12-hours of scheduled down time, which we are not yet prepared to do given the disruption to students, faculty and staff during the semester. Our preference is to do this over Spring Break, but if step #1 does not buy us time by temporarily fixing the problem, we may be forced to act sooner.

DoIT will continue to monitor the Blackboard system and update the campus when we know more. In the meantime, thank you for your cooperation and patience.