Mashov (Hebrew for “feedback” and an acronym standing for “Immediacy, Transparency, Supervision”) is Israel’s largest pedagogical management system, with close to one million users in schools and colleges across the country. Mashov’s user base comprises students, parents, teachers, staff, and administrators.
Through its online system, Mashov promotes greater communication between educational institutions and their students and parents, streamlines operations, and increases accountability and efficiency in educational settings. Mashov’s app is available as a web app and as a mobile app in the Apple App Store and Google Play. In August 2018, it was the second most popular app in the App Store.
Mashov has experienced consistent growth since September 2005 as more and more users from different schools and institutions use its products. In particular, Mashov was able to identify specific times at which its traffic increased significantly (for example, in the mornings, when users log in to see their notifications, schedule for the day, and new grades or updates) and its servers could not handle the load, making its performance slow and offering a suboptimal user experience. Mashov’s legacy platform relied on four distinct servers that worked together and used hardware databases.
AllCloud proposed a multi-zone solution based on AWS Elastic Beanstalk that would offer Mashov unparalleled responsiveness in times of significant traffic. Instead of a hardware database, AllCloud opted for RDS, AWS’ managed database service, and migrated all of Mashov’s existing databases over to a single server. At the same time, the AWS CloudFront CDN and DNS remove load from Mashov’s servers. By caching with Amazon ElastiCache, the load time for all site visitors is decreased, as users no longer have to fetch data from Mashov’s servers, but rather from the cache in the cloud. Only after the user downloads the document does his/her device start communicating with Mashov’s servers.
Additionally, AllCloud introduced scheduled autoscaling to address load on certain days. With this in place, Mashov’s infrastructure can perform automatic ramp-up in preparation for days and times at which traffic spikes are expected, and users do not experience delays. After these peaks, the system returns to its previous level of operation, which reduces loads and costs for Mashov.
From its first contact with AllCloud, Mashov expressed a desire to incorporate automation into its systems and processes. Its legacy platform had no automation and relied heavily on manual work. Every time a change was put into place, the software and the code had to be updated manually. Then, to deploy the new code, the team would have to connect the servers manually as well. Not only was this cumbersome for deployment, but it also required significant maintenance.
AllCloud was committed to finding a solution for Mashov that would introduce greater automation and enable it and its team to work more efficiently. An AWS cloud solution gave AllCloud significant flexibility in incorporating automation. Particularly, with the AWS Elastic Beanstalk platform with an automatic deployment pipeline, Mashov is able to deploy updates and new features at the click of a button, without having to make manual changes and risk dealing with issues. Likewise, as discussed above, AllCloud’s solution introduced scheduled autoscaling, which ensures that the Mashov platform is automatically ready for traffic peaks, without requiring any work on the part of the team.
Mashov came into the project with a set monthly budget in mind. Its leadership did not want the cost of the new solution to exceed what they were spending on hosted services.
AllCloud seized this challenge enthusiastically, coming up with a creative solution that ultimately cost less than Mashov’s previous system while offering significantly more functionality and automation.
As an organization that works with educational institutions throughout Israel and is integrated with a variety of governmental and institutional systems, Mashov must meet and uphold the security standards designated by the Ministry of Education of Israel. This made security a central focus in this project.
While security is always a top priority for AllCloud, from the very beginning, the team was sensitive to the fact that this project involved particular considerations vis-à-vis security. Furthermore, AllCloud worked together with Mashov to ensure that its solutions would be compatible with the Ministry of Education system and any other integrations that were necessary. By choosing AWS, AllCloud was able to ensure the highest security standards for Mashov.
In Israel, the academic year goes from September 1 to June 30, while higher-education institutions have some operations, including exams, all year round. Mashov approached AllCloud toward the end of the school year with the goal of implementing its cloud-based solution during the summer. The project was initiated in mid-June, under the condition that the two parties check in toward the end of July to determine the progress made by AllCloud. If sufficient progress was not made by the end of July, the whole project would have to be put on hold until the following year, as Mashov could not risk issues once schools and colleges were in session for the year. This deadline was fixed and nonnegotiable.
AllCloud was committed to meeting—if not exceeding—Mashov’s expectations. The AllCloud team began working on Mashov’s solution in mid-June and was able to deliver two weeks before the deadline. The entire project took approximately a month, giving Mashov enough time to implement, make adjustments, and get used to using the new system, which ended up being extremely beneficial for seamless adoption.