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Planned Power Outage on March 7 to Affect Most of ODU's Information Technology Services and Systems

A planned power outage will take place in the E.V. Williams Engineering and Computational Sciences Building on Sunday, March 7, to allow for a critical repair to the primary electrical switch in the facility. This power outage will affect nearly all information technology services and systems.

To minimize the impact on the university community, the electrical work has been scheduled for the Sunday before the start of spring break. The power outage is scheduled to begin at 6 a.m., and services are expected to be restored no later than 6 p.m. The campus community should expect central computing services to be unavailable during that period.

A detailed list of services and availability can be found at http://occs.odu.edu/support/poweroutage/.

The Office of Computing and Communications Services has taken steps to make some limited services available during the power outage. These services are listed below:

• Campus users will be able to log in to their desktop and use local resources (i.e., MS Office).

• Campus users will be able to connect to the wired and wireless network only from the main campus buildings. Please note: the wired and wireless network in university housing and the higher education centers will not be available.

• The campus telephone services (analog and VoIP) will be available.

• Door access cards to campus buildings will operate normally.

• The Emergency Alert System will be available.

• Cable TV will be available on campus and in university housing.

• Webb Center and library computer labs will be open for the normal schedule.

• The OCCS Technical Support Center will only be available by phone at 757-683-3192.

Please note that, during the outage, the following campus technologies will NOT be available:

• Faculty/staff electronic mail and calendaring services. Please note: e-mail sent to ODU during the power outage will not be lost.

• Student e-mail

• ODU Web site (outage announcement only)

• Faculty Web sites

• myODU portal

• Wired and wireless Internet services to residence halls

• Wired and wireless Internet services to higher education centers

• Online testing

• Blackboard

• Banner INB

• Leo Online

• Credit card processing

• High-performance computing


• Virtual Private Network (VPN) access

• Access to network drives

• Network printing

• Distance learning services

• Monarch Cards - debit card

All other services, even if not listed above, that rely on the ODU network or use the university's central technology resources will be impacted.

The ODU Web site home page (www.odu.edu) will display an announcement about the unavailability of campus technology services.

Additional information about the outage is provided in the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section below. If you have questions about the outage, contact the OCCS Technical Support Center at occshelp@odu.edu or 757-683-3192.


Does the University's data center have backup power that can be used during the power outage?

The data center has power backup protection from two sources, an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) and a backup power generator. The UPS provides battery-backup power for short outages. The generator provides backup power for long outages. The power from the backup generator uses the electrical switch that must be repaired, so it cannot be used. The UPS does not have the capacity to provide power for the length of outage that is required.

Will email sent to the University during the outage be lost?

Even though the ODU email system will not be available during the power outage, no email will be lost. Email systems follow a standard protocol for transmitting email messages. The standard requires the transmitting email system to retry sending an email message every 30 minutes for up to 4 - 5 days.

Will ODU student email, hosted by Google, be available?

No. All email with a @odu.edu email address is routed through ODU systems.

Why is the repair to the electrical switch required?

On December 17, 2009, the electrical switch failed and caused an unscheduled outage of University IT services. Subsequent tests of the switch revealed failed components that must be replaced.

My telephone did not work during the outage on December 17, 2009. Will telephones work during this outage?

Yes. OCCS has located redundant telephone systems in an alternate location on the main campus.

Will the Webb Center or Library computer labs be open?

The labs will be open for the normal Sunday schedule. Access to the Internet and to Microsoft Office applications will be available. Other applications may not work.

Will any IT services be available at the Higher Education Centers?


Will my ODU ID Card work to access buildings?

Yes, with the exception of the Engineering and Computational Sciences Building.

Will my ODU ID card work as a debit card at snack machines or local merchants?


This article was posted on: March 1, 2010

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.