I came in to find the email server was down. The system power was "off" so naturally I tried to turn it back on. No-go! Power would come on, then go off. Working by phone with a Dell technician, he concluded that the system processor or main board had failed. It's the machine I did a simple backup on last night. It was fine when I used it at 12:20 AM from home as a test. Apparently it was just "its time" and the system went down. So, at the support person's suggestion, I upgraded our support service from next-day to 4-hour turnaround and Dell's dispatching parts and an on-site tech to install them later today. I don't know what time they'll arrive but I'll have to stay til the bitter end. Nice way to start the day… especially before a planned trip out of town on what was supposed to be a pleasant astronomy workshop weekend! On the bright side, some businesses have declared No-Email Days on certain days of the week or month. It's supposed to force employees to make personal contacts through face-to-face or phone conversations instead of via electronic memos. We get to do that today at no extra charge! Surprising, though, how much we really need email now to get our work done.
UPDATE: It turns out there was a misunderstanding down at Dell… I had purchased (for several hundred dollars) an upgrade of service level from next-day to four-hour turnaround with the understanding it would help our immediate situation. Dell wasn't going to put it into effect for about 48 hours but I didn't know that! When nobody called me after three hours, I called Dell Support and was disappointed to learn what was wrong. The Support Technician worked hard and ironed out the issues. Things moved really fast after we got the service grade straightened out. Within a couple of more hours the prescribed replacement parts arrived and five minutes before their promised earliest time. The technician arrived about a half-hour later. By about 6:10 the Mail Server was back up and doing its mail serving thing. At 6:30, only an hour and a half late, I left for home. Our spam filter system had been saving up mail that it couldn't deliver all day and, over about an hour, delivered all of those messages. Apparently the Mail Server failed between 12:20 and about 4:00 AM. Whew! What a day.