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Oxford City Council services back online after weekend outage at SCC datacentre

Council has confirmed its services are back up and running after its datacentre hosting partner suffered a minor outage over the weekend

SCC has confirmed that a botched platform firewall upgrade at one of its datacentres led to technical difficulties affecting Oxford City Council’s IT and email systems over the weekend.

The local authority published a tweet – since deleted – alerting local residents on Saturday 11 December 2021 that it was unable to process transactions through the council website because of an infrastructure fault affecting the datacentre of its IT services partner, SCC.

“Our datacentre provider, SCC, was carrying out a regular upgrade to their datacentre equipment when a hardware failure blocked access to all network traffic into and out of the datacentre,” said the council in a statement on Twitter. “There are no issues with the systems or data themselves, simply the access.”

The situation meant the council had no access to its IT systems and email platforms, said the statement.

“The issue has been raised as a major incident, which is affecting all their customers and the supplier is working on a resolution,” it added.

In a follow-up tweet, published just before 9am on Monday 13 December, the council confirmed that normal service had resumed. “Whilst we experienced some issues over the weekend, these have now been fully resolved,” a council spokesperson told Computer Weekly.

A spokesperson for SCC said the downtime incident had been caused by an out-of-hours routine maintenance task, and it was unclear at this time how many of the firm’s other clients were affected.

“During a routine platform firewall upgrade, scheduled for the weekend of 11-12 December 2021, a minor technical issue resulted in Oxford City Council temporary losing internet access,” the SCC spokesperson said.

“The upgrade was rolled back in order to restore access quickly and there was no impact on systems or data. SCC remained in regular contact with the council throughout the resolution.”

As previously reported by Computer Weekly, SCC is in the midst of a long-standing datacentre hosting deal with Oxford City Council, dating back to 2015.

The contract was initially for five years, with the council given the option to extend it by a further five as needed, and had an estimated value of £5m-£13m.

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