What do you do when your campus server goes down and you want to find what the heck happened? Twitter. DSU disappeared from my Web sometime around 1 p.m. and hasn’t come back yet. (I’m playing Web karma and assuming that the moment I blog about it, the problem will be fixed.)

Two in-the-know Twitter pals spread the word that someone cut an SDN cable near Lake Madison. The DSU website, webmail, and cloud apps are thus inaccessible. (If my advisor is listening, I’m not ignoring your e-mails, really!)

This outage does highlight the importance of a backup channel for communications. DSU has an emergency communications system for the folks who really need to know and coordinate outage response. Our curriculum management system, Desire2Learn, is hosted elsewhere, so profs can use that to alert students that they can’t get at the library and other other campus resources and perhaps share materials through the D2L Content pages in the interim. And we can always text each other.

As for cloud computing, we’ll have some inevitable hiccups like this using remote apps. But are they any more frequent or inconvenient than the work stoppages caused by spilling Pepsi on your laptop or having your home system go ape from that one nefarious virus that sneaks through in that e-mail from Grandma?

A cut cable is just the new blizzard, the new snow day, the new canceled flight that keeps us from getting our work done when we thought we would.