Posts Tagged ‘hardware’

home server maintenance

Wednesday, July 5th, 2023

Scheduled maintenance will be taking place on our file server on Wednesday, July 12, starting at 16:00. The service will be down for approximately 4 hours. We will be replacing the hardware with all-flash storage and upgrade the base system.

Update 18:15: the new home server is open for business. Most SMB + NFS clients will not have survived the 2h downtime and will have to be rebooted. We'll go through the most obvious ones, but if yours won't work, try restarting.

All home directories (Linux, Windows and Mac, SMB and NFS) will be unavailable during this time.

For emergency cases, you'll have read-only access to the backups as described here.

This migration will mark the end of the huge storage migration project of 2023. Thanks for your patience.

Emergency Downtime of Mail Server

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

We had to shut down the D-PHYS mail server on short notice for replacing faulty hardware. Mail service should be back in the evening.

Mails sent to D-PHYS during the downtime will be on hold on the sending side.

Update, 19:30: The dust is settling. We're soon back to normal.

Hardware Maintenance Downtime of Mail Server Today 5pm

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

In order to perform system-level maintenance work, we schedule a maintenance downtime of the D-PHYS mail server today (Thursday, 2nd of July 2015) starting at 17:00. We expect the downtime to take about one hour.

During the downtime all mail services (sending mail, receiving mail, accessing mailboxes, webmail, etc.) will be unavailable. Mails sent to D-PHYS users during the downtime will be held back on the sending side and will be delivered after the downtime.

We will post an update as soon as mail services are back.

Update 19:30: Took a little bit longer than expected, but everything is back to normal now.

Used hardware bargain bin / yard sale

Friday, April 17th, 2015

ISG sits on a pile of older hardware that for various reasons cannot be used in our setup any more but that various people have expressed interest in and that still might be useful for certain scenarios (e.g. lab use or tinkering at home). We will therefore host two grab-your-used-piece-of-hardware sessions:

  • Window 1: hardware outside of the ETH live cycle, mainly old computers (PowerPC-Macs and PCs) and TFT monitors, free of charge for both ETH-internal and private use: Wed Apr 22 - Fri Apr 24 in HPT H floor
  • Window 2: not-quite-as-old hardware, mostly TFT monitors and printers, free of charge for ETH-internal use, prices for private use according to the rules: Wed Apr 29 and Thu Fri 30 in HPT H floor

As usual, some rules apply:

  • this goes to all D-PHYS members
  • no registration necessary. Just come by and take whatever is left.
  • all items come as they are. We do not have any details or specifications
  • there’s no warranty or service whatsoever. All devices have successfully been turned on, but that’s it
  • if your item doesn’t turn on, you can bring it back within 5 days and get a full refund (if it wasn't free in the first place)
  • no OS, no software, no manual, no keyboard, often no cables. You get one piece of hardware. All HDs are blank
  • all proceeds go to the D-PHYS funds, not ISG
  • if you have no use for a computer without OS or software, don’t come shopping
  • bring cash
  • note that the printers are not meant to undermine the migration to the new printing system! We will not connect those printers to our old print server

Notes on warranty (Garantie vs. Gewährleistung)

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

This post might help to clarify some questions related to the warranty conditions of new hardware. It is the result of internal inquiries we performed in reply to customer requests. Skip if you're not interested.

Switzerland, like other European countries, knows two forms of liability a vendor has to/can offer to clients of its hardware products: Gewährleistung and Garantie.

  • Gewährleistung is mandated by law and covers basic liability if a piece of hardware fails. In Switzerland, Gewährleistung was just extended from 12 to 24 months on Jan 1st, 2013. This means that for the first two years, any defect whose cause was already present at the time of purchase has to be covered by the vendor. As you can probably guess, the part in italic can be the crucial one.
  • Garantie is a voluntary service offered by most, but not all vendors. Its conditions can be pretty freely chosen by the vendor, unlike Gewährleistung where the terms are given by law. Garantie can cover a wider range of defects and it can also be a service you have to pay for.

Now how does this matter to you? Let's take a current real life example: you'd like to buy a new Apple MacBook Pro 13". Right now, you have a number of interesting options:

  • Neptun: CHF 1305.-, 2 years of Gewährleistung (by law), 3 years of Apple Garantie (price of Apple Care included)
  • Dataquest: CHF 1240.-, 2 years of Gewährleistung (by law), 2 years of Dataquest Garantie. Additionally, you can pay CHF 99.- for a third year of Dataquest Garantie.
  • Apple EDU Store: CHF 1268.-, 2 years of Gewährleistung (by law), 1 year of Apple Garantie. Additionally, you can pay CHF 210.- for another 2 years of Apple Garantie. IDES offers the same to ETH employees for CHF 195.-

It's hard to tell if the conditions of the additional Garantie are really more accommodating than those of the mandatory Gewährleistung. Wear parts like the battery for example are typically covered by neither. Harddisks on the other hand (most common failing part in a laptop) should be covered by both. In the end the best option will also depend on your usage pattern and the expected life time of your device. Regardless of the type of warranty you have, you should always report any problem you'd like to get fixed as soon as possible.

Apple warranty conditions
Computer World article

New hardware for the laptop and lab PC backup service

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

We just replaced our ailing backup server for laptops and lab PCs inplace with new, more performant hardware using the same proven BackupPC software, just a newer version. Its web-interface is available under the same URL.

The new server will start making backups from scratch for every host. Backups on the old server will still be available for a while at the address

Our old backup server became a victim of its own success. In the end it handled backups for over 100 hosts every day (over 160 during its whole life-time) and stored about 10 Terabytes of backups.

The BackupPC server of the Institute for Astronomy is not affected.

Mail Server Maintenance Downtime this Evening

Friday, April 13th, 2012

For some hardware and other maintenance we schedule a downtime of our mail server today (Fri, 13th of April 2012) evening after 6pm.

The downtime will likely take less than one hour. During the downtime you will neither be able to access your mails on the server nor to send mails via our server. Mails which are sent to the Dept. of Physics won't get lost, but will have some lag.

Short maintenance downtime on Sun, Feb 12

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Yesterday's outage could be traced to a flaky voltage controller on one of our RAID adapters. We schedule a short maintenance downtime on

Sunday, Feb 12, around 13:00

in order to replace the faulty controller. Most services will be affected.

Update 14:57 Cleanup took a bit longer than expected, but now all system are back again.

Hardware failure

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Severe hardware failure on one of our core infrastructure servers. We're working on it.

Update 11:44 The hardware problem could be fixed and all services are recovering now. Sorry for the downtime.

Emergency downtime of D-PHYS mail server today

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

There will be an emergency maintenance downtime of the D-PHYS mail server later today (Tuesday, 27th of December) due to unexpected hardware issues.

Update 16:30: Everything seems to work fine again. It's though likely that there will be another downtime for further maintenance in early 2012.