Complete Chromebook Management

The Balance Between Innovating and Stabilizing

Cody Rice November 10, 2016

At GoGuardian, we’ve been hard at work delivering the best experience we can for the schools that rely on us to keep their students safe, focused, and engaged. Some educators have asked why they haven’t seen many new features in our Admin product, while, at the same time, we’ve been releasing updates and new features in several of our other products. We realized that we haven’t adequately communicated the work and changes that have been going in to the Admin product, because they’ve mostly been on the backend — focusing on scalability and stability — and are not always visible to users. This blog post is going to do two things: explain what we’ve been doing over the past year for our Admin product, and what you can expect in the near future.

What Changed?

In order to understand what we’ve been doing, let’s take a look at this fun graph:

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This is the number of devices that GoGuardian has been filtering and monitoring over the last two years. “So what?” you might ask. Well, it turns out that adding those additional schools and students began to strain our engineering architecture, meaning that our systems needed a lot of updating and maintenance to minimize issues. We strive to minimize downtime (times when our products and dashboards aren’t working as they should), and want to make sure that users can always rely on our tools whenever they need to. Unfortunately for anyone that used GoGuardian in late 2014, they can attest that we had more downtime than we would have liked. During this huge growth period, our engineers were being woken up by server alarms at 2AM to fix problems, achieving zen by becoming one with their laptops, and generally living on coffee and code for the past two years in order to develop stable systems for the GoGuardian Admin product. We built a completely new engineering architecture and data storage layer to store, process, and search the data in our system, which resulting in some pretty cool systems (cool to nerds like us, anyway!). To see just a bit of this complexity, check out this mapping of how we used to serve your data, compared to what we do now to show data on your dashboard. 

GoGuardian Architecture Before…

before.png

GoGuardian Architecture After…

after.png 

Data Flow

But GoGuardian Built Other Products like Teacher, Fleet, and Director?

True. Both GoGuardian Teacher and GoGuardian Fleet were each originally built to see if our systems could be used in new ways that provided value to educators. We waited for both products to gain traction until we hired more engineers to work on them, meaning we never diverted resources from the Admin product to build them out.

“And what about Director?” you might ask. GoGuardian Director was an experiment with a new way of serving data—batch processing and pre-aggregations for those who like to geek out on this stuff—in order to test both whether our customers liked seeing app data and whether these new methods of data storage and aggregation were appropriate for our other products.

Ok, great. But now what?

Well, now that our systems are more stable and robust, it’s time to continue building on the things that make the GoGuardian Admin product great—giving you the data that you want, when you want it, in the ways that you want it! We’ve based our products on requests and feedback from our customers, and are going to continue making that the foundation of our product roadmap. To help us do that, we’d love to hear what you think we should add next!

Feature Poll 

  • Single Student PDF Report
  • Single Student CSV Export
  • Theft Recovery Device Identifier

To help clarify each one of these features, let’s break them down. First, both the Single Student PDF Report and the Single Student CSV Export are designed to to help schools better communicate about student needs--both internally - between administrators and teachers - and externally - with parents and students.

The Theft Recovery Device Identification is designed to give educators access to device information for Chromebooks they have been reported as stolen in order to help recover them. The features that would be included in this are the most-requested features in our UserVoice forum, which is the new home of our product feature requests.

Thank You

Lastly, we just wanted to thank all of you for the amazing work you do every day. The more we work with admins, tech directors, CIOs, teachers, and other educators, the more we realize how hardworking and passionate you are about what you do. We can’t thank you enough for your tireless efforts to serve your schools and students on a daily basis--we’re committed to doing everything we can to help you accomplish this awe-inspiring task! 

Topics: Products

Written by Cody Rice

GoGuardian Admin Product Manager

 
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