UNIX Will Be Down Saturday

The Harvard network may be shut down all day Saturday as it undergoes extensive reconfiguration to increase its capacity and efficiency.

"Because of the enormous load increase over the past two months we are completely reconfiguring the network portion that our UNIX machines sit on," said Franklin M. Steen, the director of the Harvard Arts and Sciences Computer Services (HASCS).

HASCS will split its machines from one subnet to two over the weekend "to help speed the flow of information between the many server machines we use," Steen said.

Since this fall, the average number of daily e-mail messages has risen from 80,000 to 130,000. The number of peak concurrent logins has increased from400 to 700, and the number of Unix accounts hasincreased from 9,000 to 14,000, Steen said.

In a post on harvard.general yesterdayafternoon, Unix Systems Programmer Tom Heftindicated that the fas, husc7, scunix1 and scunix5machines will be split off onto one subnet, whileeverything else will be placed on another subnet.

"It's not simply splitting some away from wherethey are now," said Richard B. Osterberg '96, amember of the Harvard Computer Society (HCS). "Theold setup is being completely trashed, and theyare using two new subnets."


"What's happening is they are hitting capacityon the network, and the only way to increasecapacity is to put fewer machines on the samesubnet," HCS President John E. Stafford '96 said.

HASCS will also be preparing to install aNetwork Appliance Box (NAB) which will act as aserver for 14,000 home directories. The NAB willactually be installed later in the semester.

Steen said that the shutdown may not take allday, but HASCS staff will be working all day toget the job done, and they wanted to prepare usersfor the possibility of a full day's downtime,Steen said.

Some students, particularly computer scienceconcentrators, are unhappy with the downtime.

"I expect that they are unhappy about thepotential of a day's downtime, but I think thatthey will be very happy about the faster and morereliable computer services that will result,"Stafford said.

Steen said they planned the downtime forSaturday because it is the day of lowest usage.

"We feel that without this change we would notbe able to offer reliabel service for the rest ofthe term," Steen said