Was Y2K a decade late?

Computer system failure interrupted network connections
but seemed to have minimal impact on transactions

It was cold in Boise Sunday night – temperatures plummeted to 16 degrees outside. But it was a balmy 145-plus in a computer server room at ITD Headquarters.

A failed valve kept water from circulating in the computer room, triggering automatic shutdowns and leaving employees without network connections for all but fleeting moments on Monday.

A system failure also interrupted connectivity between the Division of Motor Vehicles at Headquarters and county offices. But it wasn’t close to the technological Armageddon portrayed by some local news media.

In fact, DMV transactions on what typically is one of the busiest days of the year were about normal.

Statistics provided by Marvin Sims showed DMV and county offices processed almost 400 more registrations Monday (Jan. 3) than last year and almost the same number of vehicle title transactions (1,540 compared with 1,590 on the first business day of 2010.

Driver's license transactions dropped from 2,460 to 1,548, perhaps attributable to problems encountered on Windows-based photo capture workstations, Sims said.

“Considering the mess our systems were in ... these numbers below for DMV are impressive,” said Jon Pope, chief technology officer. “Keep in mind that traditionally the first business day of a new year is one of DMV’s busiest. This says a lot about our ability to keep this critical system (county DMV system) running, and the importance of separation between the DMV system and other ITD systems.

“Being able to achieve this number of transactions during a major data center outage was only made possible by a lot of good people, doing a lot of hard work and not wanting to let DMV and our public customers down.”

Considering the “convergence” of multiple challenges, Enterprise Technology Services employees turned in stellar efforts Monday. The following day no one would have guessed that Monday was a firefight.

DVM transactions, Monday, January 3:

  Registrations    Titles Driver's Licenses
2011 17,046 1,540
2010 16,658 1,590 2,460
2009 17,994 1,753 2,981
2008 17,668 1,966 2,431
2007 13,515 2,255 2,347
2006 16,760 2,342 2,480

Published 1-7-2011