Schoology

Schoology Issues Explanation for Last Week’s Disruption in Service

Hello PowerSchool Customer,

We understand that trust begins with transparency. With that in mind, we would like to provide a deeper insight into the service disruptions on the Schoology Learning platform you may have experienced this past week. 

Summary 

During the week of 4/19/2021, Schoology Learning customers experienced service disruptions. The Schoology engineering team analyzed the issues that caused disruptions and implemented corrective changes to address the problems observed. As a result of these actions, the application is now fully functional, and all services have been operating at optimum levels. 

Root Cause 

During the week, we encountered transient network connectivity issues between our connection proxy servers and our databases. These issues triggered an aggressive recovery process to recreate database connections en-masse. These new database connections caused additional network traffic, which again triggered the same recovery process. This cascading recovery loop prevented our web servers from properly serving incoming requests, which in turn led to service disruptions experienced by our customers. 

Our analysis indicates that such network connectivity issues very likely occurred over the last 12 months also. However, our resiliency thresholds (i.e., ability to handle errors per second) were adequate to limit any impact from these connectivity issues. The incidents experienced during the week of 4/19 exceeded these thresholds, leading to the cascading error recovery loop condition described above. 

Remediation 

We worked closely with Amazon Web Service (AWS) technical experts and tuned several configuration parameters to handle these network connectivity issues and recover performance gracefully without any disruption. These settings have been tested internally and deployed to our production systems. Our monitoring systems indicate that these parameters have significantly increased the resiliency of Schoology Learning against the type of network issues observed last week.  

Our Commitment to You:  

Over the last year, we have added and invested significantly more development and cloud resources to support the tremendous 700% increase in Schoology usage after districts switched to remote learning during the pandemic. Since then, we have provided uninterrupted Schoology service to millions of students, and we want you to remain confident that we will continue to be a critical partner to your district learning experience.   

At PowerSchool, we pride ourselves on the ability to serve customers with high availability and the dependability you have come to trust. We want to assure you that the improvements PowerSchool has made and will continue to make are intended to deliver fully functioning application platforms to serve our customers.   

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you and your teachers, students, and staff. Our goal is to always provide top-level value and service with the utmost level of customer support.

Thank you,
Your PowerSchool Team 

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