For your information....
Service Information, VLE (Blackboard)
We are aware that the performance of the VLE (Blackboard) since the start of the academic year is causing frustration for all those who use the service. We would like to apologise for the reliability of the service which has not met the standards that we would expect to deliver for such a core service. We do appreciate the breaks in service have caused serious issues for those who rely on getting timely access to the service. We would like to explain some of the problems that have occurred and the actions we have undertaken to try to resolve these problems.
There have been three main issues that have affected the service since the start of the academic term; network connection problems, a hard disk failure and levels of unusually high system load.
Problems in January (and in late 2011) were due to a fault on some network equipment which was leading to short network disruptions. The Blackboard service was unable to automatically recover from the loss of the network and this was leading to the service being unavailable for use. To address this problem we have moved the service to other network equipment and have replaced all the devices that suffered from that fault.
The system suffered a major hardware failure at the beginning of February which lead to a long running disruption. The recovery of the service took longer than we would have anticipated, this was due to the volume and nature of the data to be recovered. During this recovery work we moved the service onto improved hardware, with more memory, faster processors and a more resilient disk setup.
At the start of the academic term and intermittently since (including last week) we have had disruptions due to unusually high system load. We are still investigating the cause of the faults from last week. The faults have originally manifested themselves as performance issues, despite us moving the service to improved hardware during the fault in early February. As well as investigating the fault ourselves we have call open with the software vendor to look into what is causing periods of high system load.
We have now addressed the network and hardware failures, but are continuing to work on the high load problem. There is a plan to move the service to an externally hosted environment, which will provide specialist support and maintenance. This option has been selected as we believe it will ensure a high level of availability and reliability for the service. The move is expected to occur prior to the next academic year. However we understand that the current levels of service being experienced cannot continue, so in advance of this we are also looking into additional options that maybe available to help stabilise the service and we will work closely with academic staff to plan any changes that might be required to improve the system reliability.
Customer Services Manager - Learning and Information Services
Customer Services Manager
Learning & Information Services
University of the Highlands and Islands, Executive Office, Synergie House, Fairways Business Park, IV2 6AA
Oilthigh na Gaidhealtachd agus nan Eilean, Oifis Stiùiridh, Taigh Synergie, Pàirc-gnothachais nan Glasach, Inbhir Nis IV2 6AA
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Am beachd air oilthigh? Beachdaich air OGE.
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Pròiseact crannchuir Coimisean nam Mìle Bliadhna. Na companaidh earranta clàraichte ann an Alba, àireamh 148203. Àireamh Carthannas Albannach Clàraichte SC022228. Oifis chlàraichte 12b Slighe Nis, Inbhir Nis, Alba, IV3 5SQ