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Update: Efforts to boost platform capacity for itslearning users

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UPDATE, MARCH 27: This week we have again boosted network and server capacity, due to even more schools going online in Europe and the US. It appears that these measures are working and the platform has been operational without major issue. We are also continuously releasing fixes to improve the performance of our most used features, where some users have experienced slowness during peak hours. There has been a 500% increase in traffic to our platform and some features have over 20 times the normal load, since schools first began shutting down in Europe on March 13. And, the number of concurrent users continues to rise every day. We have been working hard on removing bottlenecks to reduce latency and we will carry on doing this over the weekend. Additionally, there will be a software release with critical fixes that should further improve platform performance.
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Update, March 24: Overnight our engineers have been working to further increase our capacity and to resolve bottlenecks. In order to maintain stability and minimise disruption these measures have to be implemented in phases. This unfortunately is taking some time and we are truly sorry for the delay. We are working on multiple solutions – increasing network and server capacity, removing bottlenecks, and now we are moving several customers over to a new cloud-based hosting provider that enables us to scale up faster. We greatly appreciate your patience during these challenging times.

Monday 16th of March we registered a new record number of concurrent users logged onto itslearning, with twice as many people using the platform at the same time compared with a regular school day just a week ago.

Today, even more users have logged onto their itslearning platform as more schools around the world shut down in response to national measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

“This morning as schools started in our home base of Norway, we registered 40,000 new logins every 20 minutes – double the number from yesterday. And, we anticipate this number to rise in the coming weeks”

This has put an enormous strain on our infrastructure and network, along with many other digital service platform providers. We are monitoring the situation closely and have implemented an action plan to ensure that you get the service you need.

I want to share with you the measures taken so far:

Initiated a crisis team

We mobilized our crisis team operating from Bergen, Oslo and the US last Wednesday, March 11th.

This team comprises technical managers, our most senior developers, product team, support engineers, system engineers and we have been working to identify, troubleshoot and implement the best solutions to respond to this unprecedented situation.

Technical emergency measures before today

  • We have doubled network capacity twice – Friday March 13, and Monday March 16
  • Moved resources from our hosting provider USIT over to AWS cloud hosting to scale up more quickly and easily
  • Freed up hardware to be repurposed to where it is needed most
  • Continuously monitoring, investigating, and implementing software performance fixes
  • Imports restricted to outside core hours

We are keeping an eye on the situation and implementing measures as and when necessary.

Employee protocol

Immediately after the Norwegian authorities advised people to work from home last Thursday (March 12, 2020) we took strict measures to protect all our staff, especially our core team responsible for maintaining operations – for instance by implementing home office processes, shutting down our offices and barring travel.

We are convinced that we can continue to provide the remote learning solution to all our users, and that we can do this with your assistance and support. We are asking schools using itslearning to consider staggering log in times for students and reducing administrative tasks in the platform during peak hours. Your help will be invaluable to the itslearning community.

I appreciate the help from all the teachers and schools, who are taking care of our children’s education needs in these challenging times, and we will do everything we can to support you.

Linn Bredesen
Chief Technology Officer

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