I work for a school district that uses PowerSchool for our Student Information System. We were in a difficult position when our previous vendor closed their doors abruptly in early 2011.
Pearson recommends taking 6-12 months to migrate data, train personnel and implement PowerSchool.
We had 60 days from the time we shut down our old system to the first day of school. Because of the short timeframe, we initially decided to pay a bit more to have Pearson host our instance of PowerSchool so we had one less thing to worry about.
After our first year, we felt much more comfortable supporting PowerSchool and started thinking about hosting it in-house. After some careful planning, we spun up two meaty servers and an ubuntu server to handle SSL, caching and load balancing between the two instances.
The servers and load balancer setup is a topic of another post.
For me, one of most stressful bits is making sure our users can access the system and it is performing at least as well as when we had it hosted with Pearson. Performance monitoring is lacking with the default install of PowerSchool so I decided to look elsewhere.
I had heard advertisements for New Relic from all over the place and decided to check them out. The free plan has just what I need; availability monitoring and response times.
From one dashboard, I can see that between the two servers, they are handling 150-200 requests per minute (during the summer) and most of the responses are under a second.
I’m still very stressed out about the first day of school and the deluge of users all trying to take attendance at once. However, with the New Relic monitoring, I can be sure that staff are on and able to do their job.