The entire Rutherford County Government came to a halt Thursday as a server went down, causing confusion and some chaos.
People had to wait whether they were in line trying to get a car tag or trying to pay their property taxes.
Since it was the last day of voting, poll workers didn’t have access to voting data, so election officials went to a backup plan so people could vote.
“Yesterday morning at about 11:40 we began to receiving notifications from various county departments that they were having trouble reaching their databases and their software was not connecting properly and some phone systems were down,” Rutherford County Chief Information Officer Brian Robertson said.
Every county department had some issues, from the Clerk’s office, where people get their marriage licenses and car tags, to the new Judicial Center, which houses the courts.
But the IT Department quickly figured out what the problem was.
“We determined the cause to be the failure of a mass storage device called a storage array, which is essentially a large storage drive,” Robertson said.
The hard drive failure came on the last day of early voting.
“The machines were never in question, they were never down; it was just the voter database that actually has the voter information,” said Rutherford County Administrator of Elections Alan Farley.
For voters waiting in line when the outage happened, they still could vote early if they chose to, by paper ballot, for instance, if you wanted to vote for Bill Lee for Governor you would have marked six, or seven for Karl Dean.
“We ended up slowing the process down to have people fill out paper ballots to make sure that everyone was registered, and we went back and crossed checked that,” Farley said. “And everything worked out fine, everybody voted and that was the only glitch we had.”
Some county offices were back up and running within five minutes, others took longer.
About an hour after the server went down, the entire Rutherford County Government was operating again.
IT workers are putting a backup plan in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“This is will really allow for a primary and a backup for this large disk array and will prevent even a 5-minute outage in the future and for sure we want to prevent an hour-long outage,” Robertson said.
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office and Jail were not affected, they operate on a separate server.