Section VI: Path Forward

Last Updated: 08/08/2013

In order to recommend a path forward with Desire2Learn (D2L), the Faculty-led OLE Review Committee tasked the Office of Information Technology (OIT) with collecting data about the risks associated with continuing to host with D2L as well as the risks of OIT self-hosting. After reviewing the data collected (see Section V: D2L Evaluation), OIT recommends that CU-Boulder continue to have D2L provide hosting services as it poses less risk than other alternatives. Our evaluation of D2L indicates that this relatively young company grasps the severity of their outage and they are taking steps to improve their processes and practices.

In order to ensure that OIT does everything it can to minimize the risk of an outage occurring again, OIT will focus on improving our management of, and relationship with, D2L as a vendor. To that end, follow-up actions are required of both OIT and D2L as discussed below:

  • If CU-Boulder is to continue to host with D2L specific clarification will be required so both parties agree to what is considered “material” changes. Further, D2L must consider both potential impact and actual impact to customers, in addition to the impact to D2L infrastructure, when planning and evaluating changes.
  • The D2L service will be evaluated relative to the new OIT supplier management processes to ensure the vendor is managed consistently and rigorously.
  • If OIT is to continue hosting with D2L, it will be necessary to ensure there is a clear understanding of expectations for OIT requirements during a disaster. OIT must arrange to coordinate a disaster test with D2L.
  • OIT must, as part of ongoing vendor management, receive monthly SLA and availability reports from D2L.
  • Larry Levine, CU Boulder’s Chief Information Officer, will work with CU legal to confirm and redress any contractual breaches.

OIT’s recommendation was shared with the OLE Faculty-led OLE Review Committee who agreed with the strategic path forward and related actions. OIT also shared the recommended path forward with the Faculty IT Advisory Committee, which includes Boulder Faculty Assembly representation. We will work with both committees to propose campus-wide policy that can guide the expectations and behaviors of faculty, students, and staff who may be impacted by any failures in the services and applications available on campus.

It should be noted that several issues contributed to the outage, many of which were technical failures during migration of CU-Boulder data between old and new storage systems at D2L. As a part of resolving the outage, D2L has started to return CU-Boulder to the old storage system, so far, without incident. The migration to new storage should be completed on August 10, 2013.