Monitoring from Outside

Strange– the higher my degree of work at school, the less I have time to post here. As a rapid summary, we’ve been working on student information system (SIS) research. We’re particular interested in possible “third generation” systems that are primarily focused on web interaction and display of information. PowerSchool started that trend, but now I’m investigating PCR Educator and Veracross. Possibly Spiralnet as well.

I’m not particularly excited by the idea of the entire system being hosted off-site, especially given the track record of some “we’ll host it for you” advanced school web sites. If the system really has to be hosted off-campus, then I’m not sure that will be a great thing when it comes to interconnect the SIS with multiple other databases, especially if it holds the core demographic information from parents/students/personnel.

AlertsiteOne thing we did sign up for this week was a new account with Alertsite. I’ve used it in the past for doing outside monitoring of our public web sites. Every 10 minutes it tests our public pages, and if they are down it can email, call or SMS several of us to let us know. It can also monitor the sites from multiple countries around the world.

The new twist is that Alertsite can also test our email server– not only does it send an email every 10 minutes, but then it POPs in and verifies that the email is in its account. Given how mission critical the email server has become, as well as how important our academic content manager system is becoming, we can’t afford too much downtime anymore.

On the home front, we had a most excellent time at the Southampton Boat show last weekend. I posted a gallery of photos from the trip, and my wife is completing her RYA 1 Dinghy sailing course today at Welsh Harp. Next weekend, I get to sail on a 38 foot Sigma out of Gosport.

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