January 23, 2009
The first day of a new academic term is always busy for the university's computer system, but Jan. 5 will go into the books as a record-breaker.
According to Monisha Shukla, portal services manager with Information Technology Services (ITS), the PAWS portal handled over 1.5 million requests for pages on Jan. 5, making it the busiest day ever for the system. The previous record was set on Jan. 10, 2007, the day of the infamous blizzard that virtually paralyzed the city. That day, PAWS (Personal Access to Web Services) handled close to 1.4 million requests for pages.
The start of Term II has also seen the highest number of simultaneous users in PAWS. At 11 a.m. on Jan. 5, the system recorded 3,633 people logged in, beating out the 3,229 people logged in at noon on Jan. 29, 2008. And the new record has already been surpassed, on Jan. 6 this year.
"Although this has no basis in fact, I speculate the increase is due to the fact this is the first time that the first day of classes has fallen on a Monday," Shukla said. When classes start mid-week, "some people come (to PAWS) a little early, some people come a little late" so the numbers are not as dramatic.
The spike in PAWS usage is also an indicator of user confidence in the system, she said. "We did have some bad starts the first two or three years but now we've build some credibility. Things are just smoother now. We've matured, and we seem to be handling the demand very gracefully so far."
Even Shukla was surprised by the numbers but she pointed out there is still capacity in the system to handle even more users and even more page requests.
Office of Communications, University of Saskatchewan