Over the past few years NILE (the Northampton VLE) has become critical to the student experience and great efforts are taken to ensure that the service remains available at all times. The equipment behind NILE is hosted in a Tier 1 datacentre along with other critical systems such as banks and hospitals.

When anyone accesses NILE then the connection assumes that:

  • The hardware behind NILE is up and running
  • The software which is running NILE is up and running
  • The network connection between NILE and the person using it is fully working (note that 100 s of connections may be involved in making this link).

On the 25th April, 2013 there was 10 mins of unplanned downtime which led to the following tweet from a student:

“80% of grade exam tomorrow and nile goes down, f**** useless”

This led to the development of a report on NILE downtime over the past year. From May 1st, 2012 to May 1st, 2013, NILE was actually unavailable for 7 hours and 40 mins. [Some of this would have been late evening / early morning and not noticed]. On the basis that this covers a 24 hour service – this period would have a total of 8760 hours.

This gives NILE a one year uptime of 99.91% against our contracted uptime of 99.8%.

Whilst we apologise for any unplanned downtime (ideally NILE should NEVER be unavailable), Northampton has done everything possible to ensure that we have the most robust infrastruture possible – it would be interesting to see the report of any tech service which has actually been available for 100% of the time over one year – we would certainly love to be in this position.

By the way….in responding to the Tweet above, whilst most grades may be available on NILE, the official location to get student grades is at www.northampton.ac.uk/results

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