March 13, 2020: BCNET Preparations to Support Our Members

As you are working diligently to support your institution through this unprecedented COVID-19 situation we are experiencing, we wanted to provide an update on BCNET’s preparations to maintain our services to ensure smooth and continuous operations.

 

We provide a wide range of services to our members and are committed to working with our members and vendor partners to maintain these services.  We have taken the necessary steps to ensure that our staff are able to provide support while working remotely, as well, we are continuing to stress test our ability to provide seamless support remotely. We will keep the safety and security of our staff and their families in mind as we continue with our preparations.

 

Here are highlights of our efforts to ensure the availability of specific services.

 

Network Services:

BCNET and our partners in Canada’s NREN are working to ensure that NREN infrastructure continues to support the needs of Canadian research and education communities as the COVID-19 situation rapidly evolves. Our network teams are on alert and sharing information as they monitor network operations across the country.  Normal network escalation protocols remain in effect to support and resolve any network related issues.  We are in a good position to support any surge in the utilization of Internet transit services and will be monitoring the utilization and make changes as necessary.

 

Teaching and Learning Technology Solutions:

  • Moodle: We have added additional disk and processor capacity to support an increase in utilization and will continue to monitor the utilization and add capacity should the need arise. Thompson Rivers University, our Moodle service provider, has proactively taken steps to ensure that they are in a position to support increased utilization.
  • Kaltura: We have added disk capacity and have adequate processor capacity to handle increased utilization.
  • Desire 2 Learn (D2L): D2L has confirmed that they have increased their capacity and have a robust business continuity plan in place to respond.
  • Blackboard Collaborate: Blackboard has confirmed that they have worked with Amazon Web Services to ensure that their service will scale adequately to address any surge in capacity.
  • BlueJeans: They have recently moved to AWS and have assured us that they have the burstable capacity. We encourage you to consider also using other options such as Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business to conduct meetings.

 

Procurement Services:

We are in close contact with our major vendors regarding any potential supply chain impact.  With the exception of infection control and cleaning supplies, where the supply chain is currently extremely strained, vendors have not identified any critical issues.

 

BCNET CONNECT Tech Summit

Finally, with respect to the BCNET CONNECT Tech Summit, we are weighing all options based on the directives issued by British Columbia’s Chief Medical Officer to cancel gatherings of over 250 participants.  As we make the final decision regarding our much-anticipated conference, we will be guided by the safety and well-being of our staff, members, vendor partners and all our stakeholders.

 

We will monitor this rapidly evolving situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.

 

As you dedicate yourself to helping your institution during these difficult times, please do so knowing that everyone here at BCNET is ready to assist you.