OERu Web Services as of August 2022

In the intervening 17 months since my last update the OER Foundation (OERF) has continued to develop new online services for its global community of learners and educators. All of these services are themselves built with - and hosted on - Free and Open Source Software or FOSS. Each application is the work and responsibility of its own global developer community. The OERF participates in these communities at various levels as we avail ourselves of this wealth of brilliant software for the benefit of our users.

In addition to refining our OERu services over the past year, adding a few and sloughing off a few, we have also begun to assist other organisations by hosting systems on their behalf, usually with the aim of handing them over to their control after a period of system administration tuition.

As of this writing, in August 2022, we run the following production systems:

This past year, having elected to use OnlyOffice for productivity purposes, we retired our Etherpad-light and CollaboraOffice instances.

We also added

  • a Wekan instance - for project planning via the Kanban methodology. Similar to Trello (among other tools) - https://kanban.oeru.org.
  • a Mobilizon instance - for managing events, and people following, discussing, and signing-up for and attending them - https://events.oeru.org
  • a RustDesk server instance, allowing us to provide anyone anywhere on just about any computing platform (Linux, Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android) with live interactive shared desktop support
  • a server monitoring solution based on Grafana, Prometheus, Node-exporter, Alertmanager, cAdvisor, and other tools, which provide a graphical monitoring solution for each of our servers.

We also maintain development and testing/staging instances of most of these services. Our services are all hosted on virtual Linux servers (we mostly run Ubuntu Linux) provided by commodity cloud hosting providers via Docker and orchestrated via Docker Compose. As we reported last year, in time it's likely we'll move to "just-in-time" scaling via Kubernetes, but for now that'd be overkill.

Hosting on behalf

In the past year, we've started hosting services on behalf of other organisations, including Commonwealth of Learning, Open Education Global, and the government of Samoa, in particular their Ministry of Education, Sport, and Culture's Innovative Lifelong Learning Lab (the MiLLL).

For the MiLLL project:

For the Commonwealth of Learning:

For Open Education Global:

Costs and Usage

In the past year we have served many thousands of registered users and over 200,000 anonymous learners access our courses (the full content of which are open to all without requiring authentication).

It's also important to note that all of these services can be provided at no cost to our collaborators and learners as there are no per-seat license fees (nor any license fees) associated with any of the services. Our only costs are related to the fairly generic 'cloud'-based virtual servers (all running the FOSS Linux operating system) we hire from a host of competing commodity hosting providers.

Our entire annual IT infrastructure cost, including for our 'on behalf' hosting partners, was comfortably less than USD10,000. What's more our usage monitoring suggests that we were operating below 10% capacity, meaning that we have a lot of additional headroom.

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