Schoology, the leader in K–12 teaching and learning technology, seamlessly connects learning management with assessments so that school districts can improve student performance, foster collaboration throughout their community, and personalize learning for every student.
Schoology is where students and teachers go every day for teaching and learning. It provides everything from classroom fundamentals, such as tests and discussions, to reporting and dashboards showing student progress. Ultimately, Schoology creates a collaborative environment where districts can personalize learning and improve student outcomes.
Schoology’s growth over its first 10 years, from the first handful of schools to more than 1,600 districts and 20 million users today, was putting unprecedented strain on its solution. The company’s growth was being limited by its own internal processes and hosting model. “We needed to dynamically scale, we needed to move faster, and we needed to do it in a secure and reliable way while constantly adding value to our users. All of that gets very challenging to achieve when using the data-center architecture,” says Alberto Silveira, vice president of engineering at Schoology. “We needed to have the elasticity and agility to quickly add more computing power at the same speed as we were onboarding customers.”
Schoology’s expertise is in building solutions to make teachers more effective and create engaging experiences for students, not in creating infrastructure foundations for hosting a platform for millions of students and teachers. “We wanted to get out of our own way as far as infrastructure management and focus entirely on delivering value to our customers,” says Sam Marx, senior director of product operations at Schoology.
Schoology migrated its application environment to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to meet its scalability and agility needs. “We provide a scalable, elastic, secure, and reliable software-as-a-service offering, so we knew it had to be hosted in the cloud. AWS stood out as the best partner,” Silveira says.
Initially, Schoology relied on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to support its LMS and Assessment platforms. “Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 are the building blocks of AWS, which was perfect for us because we needed to quickly migrate our platform over several months in the summer before school started in the fall,” says Marx. “Then, once we did that and were up and running on AWS, we started looking at how to optimize the environment.” As a result, Schoology began using AWS Auto Scaling to automatically observe applications and adjust compute capacity for scaling up and down. In addition, Schoology uses Amazon Redshift for data collection and aggregation for analytics solutions. Schoology also leverages AWS Lambda for many services and sees serverless as the evolution in delivering value to customers with even less infrastructure overhead and maintenance.
By running the Schoology platform on AWS, Schoology has the agility and scalability it needs to meet the rapid growth of its user base. “We have grown significantly since moving to the AWS Cloud,” says Silveira. “We can easily meet and sustain our growth into the future on AWS.”
Schoology provides 99.9% uptime for its customers worldwide, helping the company support its mission of advancing what’s possible in education. “High availability is so important because students and teachers need to access the Schoology platform not only in the classroom but also on their devices at home,” says Marx. “We are constantly hitting our uptime goals by running our business on AWS.”
Relying on AWS, Schoology can invest more time into adding value to customers. “We have more agility, and we can move faster on AWS,” says Marx. “Our goal is to deliver software, not manage IT. We can focus more of our development team on creating the best learning and teaching platform by letting AWS take care of the platform management.”
Using AWS, Schoology helps teachers deliver personalized learning to students. “We can enable a personalized learning experience by using AWS to support our platform,” says Silveira. “AWS gives us the ability to have an application environment that integrates easily with other technologies, so teachers don’t have to worry about the technology—they can make sure students are getting the best education instead.”
Schoology is also offering a more inclusive and accessible platform that provides important features school districts need. “We are committed to building an accessible and inclusive learning solution and AWS is ensuring Schoology has the foundation to achieve our growth. We believe being more accessible helps us differentiate our platform while enhancing education for teachers and students,” says Silveira.
To learn more, visit aws.amazon.com/websites.