Why are computer maintenance schedules when they are?

Generally speaking, computer maintenance times are after 5:00 p.m. on Monday–Thursday evenings, during breaks only. The upcomming dates are

  • May 19th, 2014
  • June 23rd, 2014
  • July 21st, 2014
  • August 18th, 2014

Inevitably, every computer downtime has a negative impact on some member of the Kenyon community, and we are often asked why we happened to pick just that very day and time to cause such an inconvenience. But downtimes are still necessary, and we really do try to schedule our maintenance outages to minimize the negative impact, using these guidelines: 

  1. Foremost, we want to minimize the impact on the academic endeavors of our students, so we never schedule a downtime during the active academic year. Academic work takes place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so even Sunday at 2:00 PM during the semester may be a bad time for someone (especially if that someone has a paper due Monday morning). Thus, we schedule all maintenance during breaks. And while we do recognize that academic work also takes place during breaks, we expect that such work is more amenable to rescheduling, given sufficient prior notice. 
  2. We want to minimize the impact on the administrative work of the College, so we never schedule a downtime during normal working hours - even during breaks. We assume an inviolable window of 8:00 AM–5:00 PM, which is half an hour wider than the normal 8:30 AM-4:30 PM work day. And while we do recognize that administrative work also takes place other times of the day, we expect again, given prior notice, rescheduling such work is more manageable. 
  3. We schedule our maintenance on weekdays instead of weekends because - in the event of some horrible disaster - we may need external vendor support as soon as possible, which usually is available by the next business day. So, a downtime on Friday or Saturday evening could result in a situation in which we couldn't get help until Monday morning. 
  4. We don't schedule maintenance on Sunday nights because we don't want to risk problems on Monday morning, when more business gets done than on any other day. 
  5. We don't schedule maintenance between midnight and 8:00 AM unless we absolutely must, because that is when most of the computer backup operations take place, and we don't want to interrupt them. 

For more information please contact Helpline at x5700 or helpline@kenyon.edu.