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South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) Thread, SWGfL Hosted Web Service Fails Again due to Demand in Regional Broadband Consortiums (RBC); Once again, bit of snow this morning and our hosted website goes belly up due to high demand! Still not ...
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    SWGfL Hosted Web Service Fails Again due to Demand

    Once again, bit of snow this morning and our hosted website goes belly up due to high demand! Still not 100% yet as the MySQL is broken so have had to put a temporary .htm front page up.

    After the fiasco back in February and all the promises of "we've made it better" and "it won't happen again"

    Looks bad on the School, and looks bad on me thinking SWGfL data centre could cope with such demand. Parents are calling the School not happy at all, some even think the School is closed because the website is down!!!

    Am now looking at hosting elsewhere or even hosting it ourselves, but to be honest I think I'd be happier away from SWGfL altogether at the moment.

    Pete

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    Did they give a detailed reason for it the last time?

    I don't recall ever having a problem with our site (they only host our official school.la.sch.uk address, not moodle or anything else etc). It's been flawless on all previous/current snow occasions too. I guess it's possible Cornwall and Swindon host servers are different or even in separate areas of the country though..

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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    Same problem for me FP - I'm currently being Benchmarked by the Governors as well so it directly effects my future employment as no doubt it's my fault!!

    How do I set about putting a temporaty HTM page up?




    Quote Originally Posted by FragglePete View Post
    Once again, bit of snow this morning and our hosted website goes belly up due to high demand! Still not 100% yet as the MySQL is broken so have had to put a temporary .htm front page up.

    After the fiasco back in February and all the promises of "we've made it better" and "it won't happen again"

    Looks bad on the School, and looks bad on me thinking SWGfL data centre could cope with such demand. Parents are calling the School not happy at all, some even think the School is closed because the website is down!!!

    Am now looking at hosting elsewhere or even hosting it ourselves, but to be honest I think I'd be happier away from SWGfL altogether at the moment.

    Pete

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    Previous problems back in February were apparently down to the SWGfL Proxy, it couldn't cope with the sheer traffic hitting it. It was upgraded with the assurance that it wouldn't happen again. This time it would appear to be down to the actual webserver itself, when it borked it also corrupted one of the Joomla Tables.

    Managed to access the myPHP Admin page and run a fix on the offending table and all is back on-line for now.

    For the temp page, I just renamed the index.php to something else and uploaded a index.htm page with just basic info like "Schools Open".

    Can't believe some of the excuses we heard today; "Thought the School was closed because the website was down!" Sheesh!

    Pete

  5. Thanks to FragglePete from:

    speckytecky (2nd December 2010)

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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    Thanks FragglePete,

    Your a starman.

    I'm thinking that as this is the second time SWGfL have so badly let us down they are not proving themselves up to the job of web hosting so perhaps it's time to look at hosting elsewhere where reliability and value for money is the name of the game. Any idas?

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    Our policy is to have a message displayed on two website - the "official" school website (SWGfL Hosted) and Moodle (Internally Hosted).
    If one was to be down, we would have to very unlucky for the other one to be down too.
    Additionally, we make parents aware that if the school was to be closed, text messages would be sent out (via Call Parents/Truancy Call) as well as messages played on local BBC radio + separate local radio station. Essentially if they don't see/hear at least one of these, the school is open.

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    Web Hosting Service Update

    Hi all

    I work with SWGfL and would be really keen to hear about the problems you have been having and listen to some of your suggestions on how we can improve the service. We are not in the business of making excuses when things go wrong, as with any organisation, we know that there will be times when we won’t get it right. This is no consolation to you or any of our customers when in time of need I realise, but we are very proud as an organisation of what we try to achieve and we too feel disappointed when things go wrong, so I feel that I must include some of the facts about the nature of the load and the steps that we have been taking to mitigate it ;

    • The web servers managed to serve an increased demand of at least 67 times the normal weekday load before reaching their limits. However, this did mean that some connections to the servers would have failed as this additional load consumed all the spare capacity.

    To cope with this load, our engineers worked overnight to implement the following improvements:

    Migrated physical servers to higher specification virtual servers
    Doubled the memory available to servers
    Optimised Apache and MySQL configurations on statistics collected in each peak demand period.

    Our engineers were on site from 7am each day to manage high load periods.
    The impact on individual websites is also hard to predict, depending on how customers have developed their sites. For example, a flat HTML page would have performed throughout, a site using custom PHP / ASP code would have clearly been impacted more by high load.

    It would be great to understand your particular experience. Please do feel free to PM me so that we can have a proper chat and make sure that we are doing enough for you. We’re keen to ensure that we minimise the risk of this sort incident happening again.

    Similarly, if anyone else has any constructive suggestions about how we can improve our service, please feel free to PM me.

    Richard Harrison
    COO.

  9. 2 Thanks to RichardHarrisonSWGFL:

    mb2k01 (17th December 2010), speckytecky (17th December 2010)

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    Thanks Richard for taking the time to pitch in. Really do appreciate it, and any efforts that are going on to help the situation for the future. I've seen the e-mail from Paul Hancock that mirrors what you've said here and its re-assuring that action is being taken.

    Its just frustration; if you need to find something out quick you look at the organisations website, when this doesn't work thats when the frustration sets in. There is obviously only a short time window in the morning that the parents want to see if the school is open and wether or not they need to get the kids ready for school and where appropriate travel needs, etc so this is the time that Schools will need the website functioning correctly.

    Fully appreciate it doesn't happen often, but its when it does happen is when we need it and we expect our hosting provider to be able to cope with it as is the nature of education establishments. SWGfL provides a service for education after all but can fully understand the arguments of costs, etc.

    Our particular experience is that our website is Joomla based on your Advanced Hosting Package. This requires MySQL, PHP which is what this package offers. Our website just failed to respond to requests during the busy periods and I put in a flat .html file with basic info just to get the message to parents when this happened. But the MySQL Database got corrupted during this period which took me a while to get sorted again before we could get our normal website up and running.

    Back in February during the last Snow Days, I couldn't even connect to the network from home as the traffic was too high to make this type of change.

    I see more assurances are made, upgrades being done and I've been asked to see how it goes again. Which for the time being we will, but please lets hope it doesn't happen again.

    Pete

  11. Thanks to FragglePete from:

    speckytecky (17th December 2010)

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    mb2k01's Avatar
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    Not to detract from FragglePete's post with the specific outstanding issues, but I would reiterate the first paragraph of the post.
    Richard's involvement in this thread has prompted me to make contact and I have had several communications with him on several issues/projects.
    For a senior figure to take the time to come here and get involved speaks volumes about that individual, but also reflects well on SWGfL in general.

  13. Thanks to mb2k01 from:

    speckytecky (17th December 2010)

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    speckytecky's Avatar
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    Excellent outcome and Richard's action by posting this up on Edugeek has certainly enhanced the rep of SWGfL.

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