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Heatwave leads to major server breakdown

[UPDATE 08/08, 10:17AM: Things are mostly back to normal. Original story follows.] A power outage in the Panum building has led to a widespread malfunction of UCPH's most essential web services, halting faculty and staff

On 6 August, at approximately 2.30 in the afternoon, the Panum building, housing half of the IT servers for the entire university, lost power. Major technical disturbances resulted – even though power has resumed, many systems are still unavailable.

When the University Post attempted to reach the IT department for a comment, the morning after the power outage, we were met with a general switchboard, and informed that the entire administration department’s phone system at Nørregade 10 is still inactive.

Online, the Koncern-IT department states that “many systems have been severely damaged, and will remain unstable throughout the rest of the day.”

Moderate temperatures, massive breakdown

”The problems started Sunday and Monday, because of the heat outside. It got too hot, so the university tried to cool the server room with cooling machines,” says Ulrik Grimstrup, Communications Manager at the IT department.

“We made a mistake,” admits Grimstrup, “when the temperature gets above a certain point, the electricity is set to turn off in the room. It’s was an error in the computer setup and design, and will not happen again.”

The weather in Copenhagen has been uncharacteristically warm this past week, with daily temperatures recorded at 24°C on Sunday and Monday, and climbing to 29°C on Tuesday, breaking the previous record high of 27°C in 2009, according to While this type of summer heat may not be uncharacteristic for other climates, Denmark rarely experiences such high summer temperatures.

The aftermath

The issue was exacerbated by the unexpected connection to the other IT servers. The university houses its servers at two separate locations, to ensure that a malfunction in one area will not affect the entire network. “The two server areas should work independently,” states Grimstrup, “theoretically, this shouldn’t be able to happen.”

As of 1.30am on 7 August, power was reinstated at the Panum institute. A task force has been put into place to investigate and report on the breakdown. This group is working parallel with the IT department to find out what went wrong, and to learn from these mistakes.

Up-to-date service information will be mainly posted on UCPH’s only reliably-running communicative outlet during the breakdown – Facebook, or

Update 08/08, 10:17am: After what must have been a long night for the UCPH’s IT staff, most systems are back up, according to the university’s intranet. The only part of the web systems that are still suffering problems, are internal newsletters, which cannot be read on KUNet, edited, or sent out. If problems persist, Koncern-it’s service desk can be contacted by phone on 35 32 27 00 or by e-mail at

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