US State Department Server crashes and also lacks disaster recovery tools

US State Department’s server which issues passports and visas to non-migrant citizens has crashed on Thursday on a permanent note. What’s more amusing is the fact that the whole department lacks disaster recovery tools and so will face a massive backlog in applications, until the server gets up and starts working.

According to the latest reports, engineers from Oracle and Microsoft applied a software patch to the State Department’s Consular Consolidated Database, which handles millions of passport and visa requests in US and at its embassies and consulates located worldwide. But due to the update, the server crashed and affected the passport and visa processes of around 200,000 applicants.

According to a senior official from US State Department, the patch was intended to solve several months of instability and was applied on July 20th, 2014. After the patch was applied, the server worked till July 28th, 2014, but showed some signs of shadiness from Wednesday and crashed on Thursday. It is reported that the server processed around 180,000 non-migrant visas globally during the 8 day period.

Marie Harf, a spokesperson from State Department said in a television briefing that based on the average figures, we would have anticipated issuing closer to 370,000 in the same time period. So, she agreed that the server did run as per the expectations after the update as well.

A team of officials from Oracle and Microsoft have taken up this issue and the state department officials are in a hope that the team will solve this issue by this weekend.

Also the State Department revealed that it is planning to upgrade to a newer version of Oracle Database by the end of the year and also hopes to come up with two fully redundant systems by the end of this year, in order to ensure that business continuity remains intact in their organization in coming years.

A good thought this time, as they say “Better late than never”!

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