A replication problem in the new year at Immigration involving Microsoft Exchange has been identified as a network bandwidth management issue.
When the problem was discovered on January 5 -— changes were made to Exchange during the Christmas period -— the initial resolution was to turn off the replication component of Exchange, which had affected another Labour Department business unit, Occupational Health and Safety, which has a similar architecture to Immigration.
“All the IT folk in the department got together and switched off replication, then went round and switched it on again,” says Immigration IT manager Peter Rosewarne.
“I’m reluctant to do it till I have an assurance that replication won’t affect our network.”
He says Microsoft, CSC and ITS are working on the problem.
Each part of the Labour Department has its own IT unit, operating as separate businesses, but there is a need for the department to also communicate as a single entity.
The problem seems to have occurred because of restricted bandwidth to Immigration’s overseas offices — there are about a dozen.
“We were on old email till September when we migrated to Exchange,” Rosewarne says. “But we could only do bits of it at a time because we are upgrading our offshore network to frame relay. On-shore, we have increased our frame relay to 64Kb.
“Technically, if you have a change to an email address it gets replicated across all the file servers, which can chew up bandwidth.
“You need to have the ability to throttle back email to give bandwidth to more core applications.
“The answer is in the way you deploy the Exchange connectors.”
Some of the offshore network was running at 9.6Kb over X.25.
Rosewarne says it was not a technical issue with Exchange but about network management of bandwidth.