City services, DMVs back up and running after daylong outage

City services, DMVs back up and running after daylong outage
Published: Jun. 25, 2018 at 2:31 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 25, 2018 at 4:30 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A widespread outage affected hundreds of people who wanted to renew their drivers licenses, get a state ID or pay their property taxes at the city's 10 satellite city halls Monday.

DMV sites on the neighbor islands were also crippled by the outage, since they share the same computer system. Also affected: Most city departments, from the medical examiner to the police to the planning department and the public affairs office.

The connectivity problems started just after 9:15 a.m. and continued through the day. By about 4:30 p.m., most city systems were back up and running.

"I started waiting in line since 7:30 in the morning. I got my number 12, they were working on 11, then the computer shut down," said Crash Nishimura, Waikiki resident.

Young Kim, of Manoa, took the day off to renew her license. She spent four hours at the Downtown satellite city hall.

"Very frustrating because you never expected it," she said.

The outage affected all city computers, except those used for 911 and other emergency services.

When the problems were in full swing, city Department of Information Technology Director Mark Wong said, "For all practical purposes, we are without computing services."

"Any of our users sitting at a desk, anything that's on a server that has a person that needs to get on that server — printing, email getting to your files, all of those are currently unavailable."

The problem was caused by human error: A vendor working to upgrade a fire suppression system in the Fasi Municipal Building data center "moved a wire" about 9:15 a.m., which caused the power backup systems at the center to shut down.

One the power backup systems were tripped, backups took over.

And that's a problem: Since there was no actual outage, the systems began to fail as the batteries ran out.

The outage knocked out connectivity to a long list of city services. The problems also affected phone service, data storage system, city websites and services.

After power was restored about 10 a.m., telephone, servers and the mainframe came back up. But most everything else was still down.

Wong said that specialists were working to re-boot hundreds of different system in order to get them back online. And that took a fair bit of time.

"These are some of the largest systems in the state. They're complicated," he said.

Sherri Kajiwara, city Customer Services director, apologized to residents for the problems.

"We are just as unhappy about this situation but we are going to try to help the public," she said.

She added that the city would add Saturday hours to accommodate those turned away Monday.

The following drivers licensing offices will be open Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon: Kapolei, Koolau, Kapalama and Wahiawa.

And these satellites will be open for other services Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon: Kapolei, Waianae, Kapalama, Wahiawa, Hawaii Kai.

The Ala Moana satellite city hall will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Details are developing. This story will be updated.

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