[internetworkers] Ever had one of those nightmares...
ses at unc.edu
Sat Nov 27 14:16:13 EST 2004
... where this happens to you?
DWP kills 60k+ PCs in Windows XP upgrade lash-up
By John Lettice
Published Friday 26th November 2004 09:30 GMT
*Updated* Most of the desktop computers in the UK's Department for Work
and Pensions were paralysed for four days on Monday, when a failed
upgrade took them offline. The outage, covering 75-80 per cent of the
DWP's 80,000 PCs, is one of the largest in the UK Government's not
entirely impressive IT history.
And possibly one of the most costly. According to staff reports the
outage occurred on Monday afternoon, disconnecting staff email, benefits
processing and Internet and intranet connectivity. According to one, a
limited network upgrade from Windows 2000 to Windows XP was taking
place, but instead of this taking place on only a small number of the
target machines, all the clients connected to the network received a
partial, but fatal, 'upgrade.'
Another source says that the DWP was trialing Windows XP on a small
number ("about seven") of machines. "EDS were going to apply a patch to
these, unfortunately the request was made to apply it live and it was
rolled out across the estate, which hit around 80 per cent of the Win2k
desktops. This patch caused the desktops to BSOD and made recovery
rather tricky as they couldn't boot to pick any further patches or
recalls. I gather that MS consultants have been flown in from the US to
clear up the mess." EDS is also thought to be flying in fire brigades.
If these claims are true the DWP could face grave difficulties in
rolling all of its machines back to their previous, working state. Staff
from Microsoft and EDS are reported to have been working around the
clock to dig the Department out of the pit, while speaking on the Today
programme this morning a spokeswoman amusingly insisted that the
Department's systems had not in fact fallen over. They were working, it
was merely the case that "80 per cent of desktop computers are not
connecting through to the mainframe systems."
So that's cleared that up then. She added that the emergency payments
system was "working perfectly." The emergency system appears to have
kicked in on Wednesday, and the Department was preparing a press release
on the matter yesterday. No sign of it this morning, yet.
Reports coming in this morning however suggest that at least some of the
DWP's systems are coming back online.
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