Monday, 12 December 2011

SafeAssign Downtime - 27th December 2011

We have received notification that SafeAssign will be taken offline on December 27th for maintenance and performance upgrades.

Below is the message we have received:

The SafeAssign service will be unavailable on Tuesday December 27, 2011 from 2:00 PM until Tuesday December 27, 2011 at 8:00 PM. SafeAssign is being taken offline for a maintenance upgrade. Upon completion of this upgrade, the RSS feed will be updated to indicate SafeAssign is back online and available.

This maintenance upgrade will improve hardware failover and upgrade the software. In conjunction with version 2.4.11 of the SafeAssign Building Block to be released at the same time, this software upgrade will include several maintenance fixes, including:

  • SafeAssign now displays submissions for courses that have larger rosters and SafeAssignments without significant delay. GMNIBB- 163

  • SafeAssign now allows downloading of SafeAssignments that contain the forward slash (/) character in the titled. GMNIBB-168

  • The correct Feedback file is attached on the SafeAssignment grade. GMNI-249

We are hopeful that the 3rd point above will resolve the long running issue that we have had regarding feedback not staying associated with the correct students.

During this outage SafeAssign will be unavailable. End-users will not be able to submit papers through SafeAssign during the planned downtime and will receive an error message if they attempt to do so. SafeAssign Originality Reports will not be available to Instructors or Students during the planned downtime, nor will Instructors be able to access SafeAssign DirectSubmit. Please make end-users aware of these limitations. Use of SafeAssign can continue as normal after the planned downtime are complete.

Please do not re-submit
SafeAssign is experiencing regular delays due to load on the system. In one sense, the cause of these delays is quite simple: the rate of papers being submitted exceeding the speed with which SafeAssign can process papers. Submissions go into a queue, and are processed in a first-in, first-out order. When the submissions are entering the queue faster than they are processed, a backlog builds up. Normally, SafeAssign catches up on that backlog when the submission rate drops below the processing rate. However, because of record high usage we've been pretty consistently running over capacity 24 hours a day for several weeks now (except for the US Thanksgiving weekend). So the system never fully has the time to catch up, resulting in turnaround times of 12-24 hours in many instances.

Given projections from historical usage, the significant delays of 12-24 hours or more will continue through the first week of December and then rapidly ease off in mid-December as the semester closes. Clients should expect that they will not see any significant improvement in turnaround times before mid-December. Please do not re-submit papers that have not received a matching report to prevent creating an even larger backlog.

From a development perspective, the current focus on SafeAssign is scalability and improving turnaround time of submissions. We hope to be able to deploy further improvements in this area early next year. 

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