Cut cable crashes city computer system
The City and County of Honolulu's computer system crashed, and put the brakes on driver license renewals and IDs across the state.
A crashed city's computer system put the brakes on driver licenses and IDs across the state.
The cause of a crash? A cable, mistakenly cut.
Many expect to wait at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
"We all waited in line, too long of a time," said Honolulu resident Charlotte Kamaka.
But they were not expecting Monday's wait.
"We came this morning and there was a line out there. We waited about an hour, and then they brought us in. About an hour and a half later, the machines went down," said Honolulu resident Art McAulton.
Vendors working to upgrade the fire suppression system for the city's computer network mistakenly cut the wrong cable. That disconnected power to the entire system as well as generator backups. Which, in turn, caused the computer grid to crash.
"We lost all network, telephone , storage, servers, the mainframe, basically anything that was technology related to the city, except 911 went down," said Mark Wong, the Director for Information Technology.
"I couldn't call anybody, reach anyone by email. All systems were down," said Sheri Kajiwara, the Director of Customer Service.
Her department handles motor vehicle registrations, drivers licensing and state IDs.
The computer crash meant employees at DMV and Satellite City Halls were unable to help hundreds who had lined up at each of the 18 Oahu locations.
"I made an appointment a month ago, and this morning I was supposed to get it at 10 am," said Aiea resident Pam Anderson.
This outage affected more than just Oahu, driver license renewals and motor vehicle registrations ground to a halt across the state.
"Driver's license and motor vehicle registration nationwide is a state function, but that is not the case in Hawaii. Instead, the City & County of Honolulu runs it for the entire state," said Wong.
A few hours after the cable was cut, the city had 95% percent of the system back up. Except a key component: the computer interface.
"There is one critical system that helps you get to where you need to go. But if that is not working, the systems can be running and you can't reach them for all practical purposes. They are up, but you just can't get to them," added Wong.
The city put in additional battery backups after a pair of sudden power loss events last summer cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in damaged equipment.
This time the batteries protected the system and data, but the hundreds of individual components still had trouble connecting, after they came back on line.
During the computer crash, the city opted not to switch over to a duplicate data storage system in Kapolei.
Instead, workers took the time to bring the original system back on line.
While many waited.
And waited, because that was all they could do.
"I previously came in and make an appointment, but my appointment wasn't until the 11th of July. And my license already expired," stated Honolulu resident Wilma-Joi Poaha.
County workers were only able to conduct road tests, because that was the only service that didn't use computers.
To help those who missed appointments or waited at the DMV and Satellite City Halls, these locations will be open this Saturday morning:
Driver's License Offices:
Satellite City Halls:
Ala Moana 9-1
Hawaii Kai 8-12