Table of Contents
EnglishScore is the British Council's global test and certificate of English for employment. The product they provide is a mobile application that offers English testing and certification to both individuals and organizations.
The technical problem
EnglishScore has a mobile application available on both Android and iOS operating systems. The app allows individuals to quickly and accurately assess their English language proficiency. Over 2 million tests are taken every year, from people in over 150 countries and the assessment is used by organisations around the world to assess the English proficiency of their staff, students, and citizens.
When EnglishScore decided to look for a monitoring solution, this was regarded as part of their best practices to optimise their engineering time and get insights to prevent future problems and make their product better.
Varun Sharma, Head of Engineering at EnglishScore, wanted to prioritise monitoring both application performance and system metrics so the EnglishScore team got needed insights ranging from the effectiveness of their systems and on to how many API calls are being made to external parties.
Key questions from their data that EnglishScore needed answers to include: “Is our system running effectively?”, “Are jobs being processed in a timely manner”, “Is there some problem with one of our workflow queues causing slowdowns or bottlenecks?, and “What are our system trends as relates to increased workload or higher number of test-takers over time?" Getting answers to these questions allows EnglishScore to improve its product and solve problems before the customers can even notice.
MetricFire allows EnglishScore to find an issue in 2-3 minutes that could take 2-3 hours getting lost.
EnglishScore was originally a Heroku-based application so the team started their monitoring journey with the Hosted Graphite Heroku monitoring add-on. The motive behind this was the ease of development compared to AWS. Varun said, “From the very beginning when the startup [EnglishScore] was just taking shape they [management] had already selected Hosted Graphite. It was not a case of moving from another tool.”
Varun continued about his increased usage of Hosted Graphite, ”We had grown to certain volumes, and our team required more deterministic capabilities and faster load-times. Thanks to a good migration experience and the support team’s help we were able to easily move over to new instances. We see great performance and increased ability to manage metrics in a more granular manner by moving to a dedicated Hosted Graphite account”.
The EnglishScore team found the perfect solution for their monitoring use case in Hosted Graphite by MetricFire. As their business grew and monitoring usage increased EnglishScore were able to save money by moving to a dedicated Hosted Graphite plan from MetricFire. Hosted Graphite’s Heroku addon is largely meant for small applications managed by one or two people. When applications grow, moving to a dedicated plan is easy, affordable, and scalable. Varun and EnglishScore “reached this stage and easily decided to make the change.”
By moving to a dedicated Hosted Graphite plan EnglishScore received increased control over its metrics. Additionally, Varun was impressed with how easy it has been to set up their monitoring dashboards. This enabled them to quickly refer back to real-time data on the assessments they offer their users and average uptime.
Currently, they are working to set up more alerts on their Core, Speaking, and Writing tests to ensure that scores are being issued. Ensuring that these assessments are being scored accurately allows EnglishScore to maintain their strong reputation as an educational platform.
Both technical and non-technical team members can understand the status of assessments via their custom dashboards and resolve any issues before customers notice. Anyone at EnglishScore who needs to check the dashboards may do so directly, whether they are on Varun’s team or not.
Using MetricFire daily allows Varun to refer back to dashboards and always be aware of whether something is not working before customers are aware. This allows the development team members to save time and effectively solve problems.
We believe that understanding your data makes businesses able to excel, and when you have your metrics all in one place you can speed this process along.
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