The term ‘communication’ is described by Wikipedia as ‘the meaningful exchange of information between two or a group of living creatures.’
It fits in well with the idea that Akvo and our partners are a group who like to share information, whether between ourselves, or with others the world over.
For the past few weeks we have been trying to figure out a way to better communicate the status of our services. We recognise that a quick tweet thirty minutes before our RSR service goes down for maintenance or upgrading is just not good enough.
As we are focused on providing tools for our partners, we felt that it would be a waste of resources to setup and run our own status portal, so we decided to leave that to the experts in the field.
We started looking for a simple, clean solution. We found Statuspage.io.
A relative newcomer, having launched in early 2013, StatusPage.io offered exactly what we were looking for – the administration is simple and it displays information in an uncluttered, easy to understand format.
We are now, proudly, reporting via a responsive management portal hosted by Statuspage.io at akvo.statuspage.io. This will allow more transparency regarding system availability. The aim is to:
- communicate scheduled downtime
- acknowledge outages when they occur
- identify what is causing an outage
- identify who and what are affected by the outage
- provide any possible workarounds
- convey the severity of the issue
- and, finally, convey the resolution
The portal is updated in two ways. Manual updates provide details on the cause and what exactly is being done to resolve the problem. The portal also displays live ‘public metrics’ via integration with our system monitoring over at Pingdom.
Graphs provide a visual of what has been happening over the past day, week or month:
(Public metric by Pingdom)
Humans are funny creatures; bad news is better than no news. We all know the frustration of repeatedly checking whether or not a web page or a service is back up and feeling as if no one is actually working on the problem. This is generally down to a lack of communication by the provider.
With this in mind, there are two ways to receive updates for Akvo services. You can subscribe via akvo.statuspage.io to notifications of all incidents or a particular incident. You can also follow our automatically generated status updates on Twitter by following @akvostatus.Keeping you informed
From now on we will be communicating any known issues publicly and, at the same time, keeping you up to date on how our team are going about solving the incident.
To make our status page a little easier to find, we have added a link in the footer of www.akvo.org, just below ‘Report a problem’.
Lynn Greenwood is an internal IT manager at Akvo. She is based in Stockholm.