2023-11-29 20:01

Kobus van Wyk

When the server goes down …

The e-pioneer finds innovative solutions to problems.

What do we do when the server in the computer room goes down?  It often takes a long time for technicians to get it up again. During this time the equipment in the room is idle and learners can’t use the facility.

The e-pioneer can not support this way of thinking.

Consider the lesson in innovation in Aesop’s fable about the Crow and the Bottle.

A crow perishing with thirst saw a bottle.  Hoping to find water he flew to it with delight.  When he reached it he discovered to his grief that it contained so little water that he could not possibly get at it with his beak. He tried everything he could think of to reach the water, but all his efforts were in vain. At last he collected as many stones as he could carry and dropped them one by one with his beak into the bottle, until he brought the water within his reach and thus saved his life.

This story illustrates that necessity is indeed the mother of invention.  In the case of a server that is down, find ways in which individual workstations can be used.  Always explore alternatives.

When such stumbling blocks are encountered, e-pioneers will not sit back and allow a bottleneck to thwart their noble efforts – they will find pebbles to toss at the problem until it is solved.

Click here for more food for thought for e-pioneers.


  1. This is definitely and avenue that needs innovation from the facilitator’s part. What can be done is to show LANs how to copy the folders of certain software and load it individually on a PC by using a memory stick/external hard drive. The free software works well as I have done it already. By now the LAN and some teachers know what to do as I have made a training session out of it. Should the sever give problems after being restored schools have a backup in the future. This helps build confidence and teachers do not become despondent. The Cami however does not last that long if done in this manner as Trigger codes will become an issue (but not impossible to work if reloaded for period when server is down). So there is always away around something. Facilitators do not have the time for this but using your training sessions to empowering others on a needs basis can make your task easy.

  2. When the server goes down, too often it becomes the facilitator’s problem. Schools forget that the equipment is theirs and it is their responsibility to find ways to work around the problem. Facilitators many times oblige to get the labs up-an-running even if it is not really in their job description. Schools have been spoiled that way because quite easily they are told that Khanya provided the hardware and Khanya must provide the service to fix no matter how small the problem is. Yet, the labs are part of the school’s assets and not the project’s.

    In many instances when the labs are down or the laptops cannot be accessed through the network, I enable the student user. Work can continue even though you may not be able to print, use the internet or save the info on the computer/network. The IAWB could still work and if the electricity is down, pen-and-paper will do.

    I have now done SNA (School Network Administrator) training to death to empower people to look after their own problems. I’m not sure how successful this is since the problems still persist. I consider SNA training to be ongoing process and not one which should stop after a second session.

    An issue still remains….who will fix the problem if nobody is interested to search for a solution? The problem conveniently shifted to someone else and becomes their baby, someone else’s problem. Can we outsource it instead of learning how to do it ourselves? If we can do it ourselves is there light at the end of the e-tunnel…?

Comments are closed.