(Edited on August 15, 2018 to draw attention to the April 1, 2016 posting date.)
In an unpublicized move, the USPTO has relocated its “contingency” EFS-Web server to the Denver patent office.
This is, of course, welcome news. Customers of the USPTO well recall the massive system crash in December of 2015, in which the main EFS-Web server and the “contingency” EFS-Web server both crashed and were unavailable for some six days. That massive USPTO system crash reminded everyone of the many reasons why a backup server ought to be located at a geographically separate location from the location of the main server. The backup server ought to receive electrical power in a completely different way than the main server, from a different electric company. The backup server ought to be connected to the Internet in a completely different way than the main server, from a different Internet service provider. Responsible system practice calls for the minimization of the number of “single points of failure” that could knock out both systems at once.
According to the USPTO, a single event at the USPTO on December 22, 2015 having something to do with a power conditioning system knocked out both the main server and the “contingency” server.
Customers of the USPTO also well recall the system crash on May 14, 2014 when both the main EFS-Web server and the “contingency” server crashed for some eighteen hours.
So as I say, today’s development is welcome news. Starting today, April 1, 2016, any failure that were to knock out the main server in Alexandria, Virginia would be very unlikely to knock out the “contingency” server in the Denver patent office (or vice versa). They have different power sources, for example, and different Internet connections.
Kudos to the USPTO for taking this important step!