Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, News & Advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

Written by Justin West
on June 18, 2020

While it may be a time for students to get some much-needed time off, summer break always sees Gaggle and its staff hard at work preparing for the coming school year. This summer will be an especially busy one for Gaggle as our technical staff works to make improvements to our infrastructure that will ensure stability once the bell rings at the start of the new school year.

Just like Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and a host of other SaaS providers, Gaggle saw unprecedented traffic in recent months. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our customers’ move to a distance learning model—and its related increased reliability on cloud-based tools like Gaggle—resulted in a 600% year-over-year increase in the traffic coming into Gaggle’s networks.

While Gaggle has robust redundancy at the technology level, coupled with thorough business continuity processes, this unforeseeable traffic increase put our systems through their paces. This traffic didn’t just impact our technology—it also affected our people. Since Gaggle uses a combination of artificial intelligence and trained safety experts to analyze and review students’ use of school-issued technology, our Safety Team adjusted their schedules to keep students safe as incoming content ramped up well into the night and weekend hours.

Gaggle is keenly aware of the impact that delays in mail delivery have on students and staff. As such, we are taking the following measures to ensure that we are prepared for the coming school year:

  • Optimization: Gaggle’s engineers have worked diligently in the past few months to improve performance in the back-end systems that scan content for threats, incidents, and other concerns. These optimizations significantly reduce the amount of time content spends inside Gaggle before being passed along on its route to you.
  • Scaling: Gaggle uses autoscaling where possible and we are improving upon this, enhancing our architecture’s ability to automatically grow along with the traffic that we are seeing. This will allow us to tackle traffic loads far greater than we saw even during the end of this last school year.
  • Modernization: Gaggle has been working throughout the past year to innovate and rearchitect much of the technology we use to make our service more stable and more performant. These efforts are largely responsible for our ability to handle a 600% traffic increase without turning away mail at the gates; now, we’re looking at ways to further modernize our infrastructure and the tools we use to manage it. This means better systems management tools, better monitoring, and innovating by using newer, more optimized components in our various environments. All of this combined will mean better stability and performance, and more visibility for our teams to proactively address issues.
  • Expansion: In addition to all of the above, we’re expanding our base technology footprint to allow us to process the kinds of traffic we anticipate—even in advance of any automatic scaling that may occur. As we expect an increased reliance upon distance learning in the coming school year, we’re making sure our applications are ready for more traffic than we’ve seen even thus far.

The coming year is an important one, and Gaggle is working harder than ever to be as reliable and proactive as our students and staff need us to be. Student safety is our top priority, and that means making sure we’re here when you need us. Through the efforts above, we will be ready for whatever the new school year throws at us.

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