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14.07.2023 16:13 Age: 230 days

Update on the current situation

This news provides an overview on the latest developments regrading the SILVA project and our current hardware issues.

On January 1, the SILVA project has joined the Opens external link in new windowLeibniz Institute
DSMZ - German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH
and we have migrated all our services from our previous hosting institute, the Opens external link in new windowMax Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, in the first months of this year. At the same time, we started to rebuild the team - only one previous team member has joined the DSMZ. Currently, half of our positions are still open. We are especially having trouble recruiting talent for the (senior) software developer positions as everyone in Germany is in demand for software developers.

 

Through joining the DSMZ, SILVA has secured permanent funding. As part of the funding, we will join the Opens external link in new windowBrenda, Opens external link in new windowBacDive, Opens external link in new windowLPSN, Opens external link in new windowTYGS, and Opens external link in new windowMediaDive teams to build together the Opens external link in new windowDSMZ Digital Diversity platform which will integrate these databases to link and comprehensively analyse different types of scientific data from all domains of life sciences.

 

We were planning to release SILVA 138.2, a second taxonomy update for release 138, this month and a new full release in the first quarter of 2024. As you probably have noticed, we are currently experiencing major technical problems - which delay at least SILVA 138.2. From the curation side, everything is going well and would allow a release this month. However, we currently not only can't calculate your jobs on the SILVA website but also no SILVA release. The issue is caused by hardware problems with the central storage server of the DSMZ, which is also used by the HPC clusters of the institute. Therefore, the clusters can't access any data and, thus, we can't calculate any jobs.

 

Our IT department is working to solve the issue as fast as they can. But they also have to be careful not to cause data loss in the process. They currently can't estimate how long the process will take. The best case estimation is that the storage could be online again by the end of next week (week 29). This, in turn means that the SILVA jobs won't be available - at least - until July 24. There are still some scenarios which can go wrong and would keep the storage server offline for longer but the IT department, unfortunately, can't give any worst-case estimation.

 

Additionally, we have been informed that there will be another outage of three days, approximately in August. Therefore, we have decided today to apply for a backup solution in the cloud. We can't yet promise how fast it will be available but we expect it to take us at least the complete next week to set it up, especially since it is summer holiday season in Germany and there is some manual approval required in the process.


In the last days, some additional problems with the website server itself have occurred which neither we nor the IT department can explain yet. The web server from time to time just decides not to answer any requests but doesn't tell us what's wrong. We are looking into this issue and are trying to find a solution as soon as possible.

We are very sorry for all the inconvenience we are currently creating and hope to be back soon with the reliable service you are used from us. As always, feel free to get in touch with us through our Opens window for sending emailhelp desk.

 

The SILVA team