Q-Tel: Qatar National E-Mail Crashes, New Server to be Installed
For the first time after Qatar's national e-mail connection with the rest of the world was severed, the Qatar telecom company (Q-Tel) admitted that its mail server had a major crash, according to Gulf Times on Monday.
What caused the crash, however, was not revealed, said the paper, but Q-Tel general manager, Hamad bin Abdullah al-Attiyah, was quoted as saying that a new server was flown in and being set up by Dubai-based experts. "The new server has seven times more capacity than the old server,” he told Gulf Times after Q-Tel's extraordinary general body meeting on Sunday. Asked whether the new server would take over immediately, al-Attiyah said he hoped it would become functional by the month-end. "I hope to give you some details within a week.”
The general manager said the old server was set right by experts but would not be relied upon for mail dispatch and delivery.
"The old server will be used as a standby when the new server takes over. Internet users will get superior service with the new server becoming functional," he said.
On complaints of 125 not providing any information to subscribers since the crash on March 21, he said: "The helpdesk was flooded with calls and some 20,000 people had called the number after the breakdown.”
The helpdesk was not in a position to handle so many calls, he pointed out. Asked whether a high-level inquiry would be ordered since the problem was identified as a major one, the general manager said he was awaiting "an inhouse inquiry report.”
He said that when the problem was first identified it seemed as if it was a minor one.
"Our engineers worked 72 hours non-stop to set right the mail server. However, the magnitude of the problem warranted intervention of experts from outside. They are all specialists in Netscape operations.”
A mail server crashing is not unusual, he said. "Even America Online - AOL, was down for two weeks some months ago. Web-based Hotmail too faced a major problem recently.”
In fact, Q-Tel could manage a new server within a record time of four days, the general manager said.
Although the mail server had crashed, Qatarnet subscribers would not have lost even a single mail during the inoperable period.
"Our backup mechanism ensured that all incoming mail was stored properly. We have started dispatching mail one after the other. Subscribers will start receiving these soon", al-Attiyah said.
Meanwhile, the paper reported that the Qatar government has agreed to extend till 2006 the tax-holiday given to Q-Tel, general manager, al-Attiyah said. The initial three-year tax holiday given to the telecom monopoly was to have ended in 2002.
While granting monopoly rights to Q-Tel for a fifteen-year period from 1998, the government had asked the company to pay a royalty of 25 percent on net profit every year after a three-year tax holiday – Albawaba.com
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