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11/17/2011
03:32 PM
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Hardware Glitch Knocks DISA Website Offline

The agency's public website and some internal applications have been unavailable since Saturday, when a SAN disk pool failed.

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A hardware problem knocked the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)'s website and some of its intranet services offline for nearly a week, the agency confirmed Thursday.

The problem is one of several website issues that have plagued the federal government recently, even as the Obama administration has ordered that agencies improve customer service--including improving access to services and communication channels online.

The problem started Saturday, when a disk pool within one of the agency's storage-area networks failed, causing disk access to be unusable, DISA spokesperson Tracy Sharpe said via email.

This took down DISA's website and blocked Department of Defense personnel from reaching applications such as training, time and attendance, and file sharing, she said.

[Some federal websites are being purposefully retired to save money. See Obama To Close 50% Of Federal Websites.]

The agency restored many applications that were affected in the first 24 hours, but the recovery process took until Thursday to complete. The site was back online around 1 p.m. Thursday.

The feds struggled lately with keeping websites up and running at optimal performance. CIO.gov, the website for the administration's CIO Council, experienced sporadic outages on Nov. 7 and 11.

Meanwhile, much has been made publicly of problems with a relaunch of the USAJobs.gov website on Oct. 11, which experienced a series of glitches that made the site and many of its services inaccessible to users for weeks. Among the problems users experienced with the site were an inability to save searches or access user name and password information and profiles, among others.

A Congressional committee even convened over the USAJobs debacle, finding the root of the trouble in historic challenges with IT project development and management at the Office of Personnel and Management, which oversees the site.

Keeping websites and online services available to the public is key to achieving Obama's customer-service improvement goals, which required agencies to come up with a "signature initiative" that leverages the Web to meet customer-service goals.

The online aspect of federal customer service is becoming even more crucial as research shows more people are using the Web as their chief means of interacting with the government.

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