Pipeline poses problems on opening week

Katrine Villumsen, Katrine Villumsen, and Katrine Villumsen

Students and faculty at City College have reported a variety of difficulties with their online portal, Pipeline.

Dan Watkins, Director of Information Technology, confirmed that the many issues with Pipeline were caused by failing to upgrade their online system. Yet, the upgrade was necessary in order to properly secure the website.

“Normally these things don’t happen,” Watkins said.

According to Watkins, many students who logged on to Pipeline felt insecure because of a missing lock icon which symbolizes that it’s safe to give out personal information on the website. Watkins says, however, that there has never been a security problem with Pipeline and the upgrade was made to make the website look as secure as it currently is.

City College has been using Pipeline since 2001 and the system has been upgraded many times.

The original day for the new system to “go live” was on Aug. 4, but City College decided to wait until Aug. 10. Watkins says that this was done in order to test everything and to make the smoothest transition because of the many registering students. On Aug. 11, the system started having performance problems. These were resolved on Aug. 21.

Watkins said that once City College got the problem under control they started getting email error reports. Another four days were used to fix this problem and by Aug. 28 all active email accounts were restored. Watkins says, however, that all inactive accounts are now fixed as well.

“We try to do it at the best time possible, but there is never a good time to upgrade,” Watkins said when asked about the poor timing of the improvements. “We will always be in between semesters.”

Watkins also said that preparations for the necessary upgrade were made back in May.

“We are hoping to make Pipeline a place for students to find out more about City College and to communicate with their teachers,” he said.

However, Watkins does not think all students or faculty members will be able to notice the difference after the upgrade. “Some might,” Watkins says. “Many students are trained to look for a lock and this upgrade was the only way to get a lock.”

Watkins promises that Pipeline is now working again. Whereas the previous Pipeline system never had to be restarted, the upgraded Pipeline is automatically restarted every day at 4 a.m. “[The restart of the system] will not fail,” Watkins said. “And if it does fail it will send an email confirming the bad performance.”

Watkins says that the previous Pipeline system was not upgraded for two and a half years and that the school will probably not upgrade the new system for a long time.

“We are probably still going to stick (the current system) Luminis,” Watkins said. “But we are probably going to do things differently next time.”