July 2021: Regular Canvas Maintenance Windows
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This post will be updated with additional information as it is made available. Please see the notes at the bottom of this post regarding revisions.
In an effort to better manage required maintenance across all customer instances, we will be implementing regular Canvas maintenance windows for each region, beginning 15 July 2021. These two-hour windows will be scheduled for the 1st & 3rd Thursday of each month. Most maintenance windows will take place sometime between the hours of 12:05am and 4:05am local time.
Admins can expect any maintenance to happen during the scheduled maintenance windows, unless there is emergency maintenance that needs to be completed at any given point. These planned maintenance windows should help to lessen the need for emergency maintenance.
Even though the windows are two hours each, we don’t expect users would experience downtime for more than a few minutes. It is also likely that we won’t always have maintenance that needs to be done during our scheduled maintenance windows. Admins will be alerted to planned maintenance the week before it takes place. We will not send any alerts if no maintenance is expected.
Status updates are provided for each Canvas institution. Anyone can subscribe to updates via the status page and searching for the name of their Canvas account.
SIS Systems & API Integrations
For institutions concerned about SIS integrations and other tools that may have processes running during prospective maintenance windows, ensure the integration checks for maintenance before processing. Any database system that cannot be interrupted needs to be revisited regarding its structure, as databases are capable of failing at any time.
When the maintenance page is active, any API calls made by an integration will receive a 503 status code response, Service Unavailable. Any jobs running before the maintenance time period should pick back up after the maintenance ends. A proper integration should check for that status code and be able to pause for a few minutes before retrying.
For institutions who are working with a vendor regarding an integration process should confirm with the vendor that their system can support any downtime that the system may encounter.
An additional option for institutions is to consider changing the time of the scheduled tasks so it does not operate during the scheduled maintenance window.
[21 May update] The times of the maintenance window have been shifted by five minutes, 12:05 am–4:05 am. Additionally, recommendations about SIS systems and other API integrations with active jobs have been added.
[19 April update] As of the May 15 Canvas release (available in the beta environment today), the specific two-hour maintenance window for an institution will be displayed in Account Settings for admins and in User Settings for all other users. However, since maintenance windows do not begin until 15 July 2021, the dates and times shows are not yet applicable. Please note that the two-hour maintenance window may be adjusted before the maintenance window goes into effect.
I could use some clarity on the timing of the window. The post says they would be two hours form midnight-4:00am. Does this mean we could opt to have our from 2:00-4:00am, or that Instructure would have variable start times anywhere in the midnight-4:00am range.
We look forward to this update, but traffic patterns from our larger schools show that usage doesn't truly drop off until 2:00am. If we had a way to opt into specific time ranges (or if the times were pushed from 2:00-6:00am) it would be an improvement for us.
@erinhmcmillan, our campuses are worldwide, and a later window will start impacting our European campuses. There is no good time, but I like @degensp28 suggestion that we could opt into the best 2-hr time range for our particular schools.
Could you move it to 1am to 4am since the default due date time on assignments is 11:59pm and students could bump against that while trying to submit? Especially if the teacher gives a late/until window.
Instructure will have varying start times anywhere from midnight to 4am, with the start times being in two-hour blocks.
Our teams are still evaluating what windows would be best for each region. If you have specific concerns, please reach out to your CSM.
@erinhmcmillan , will do. One question, just to be sure, the timing being discussed is in Mountain Time?
I can no longer see the maintenance window preview in Canvas BETA in Account Settings or in User Settings. I could see the preview two weeks ago, but now when I go to check under the time zones, there is no preview. Is this intentional?
@oBurgess3 it resets every week until it's available in production. I'll ask engineering to turn it on again.
Agree with @cms_hickss, midnight is a bad start time as many assignment due dates use 23:59 as the submission deadline.
Would like this to not begin until 01:00 and to take place within a specified 2 hour window. (Although I see that with daylight savings / British Summer Time, 01:00 - 03:00 is specified as the next maintance window. This would be acceptable)
@erinhmcmillan Was also wondering how these Maintenance Windows will affect Student and Teacher notifications? Will Students and Instructors still see a banner informing them of an imminent Maintenance period on their Dashboard now that these scheduled Windows are being implemented?
@oBurgess3 we are not doing anything differently than what has already been done with maintenance notifications, except for publishing the notification window available in the Canvas interface in advance. All users can view the window information in their User Settings page.
In production, when I go into "Account Settings", when I look between "Default Time Zone" and "Allow Self-Enrollment", I do not see what the maintenance window is.
When will this appear?
@erinhmcmillan I second the comment above. I do not see it either. Or will this only affect beta and test instances?
It should be in production. Turning it on is a manual process and I'll check that engineering gets that enabled today.
Thanks for letting us know!
Thank you @erinhmcmillan. I did not get a chance to check on Tuesday but I did just check rand it is there.
For anyone else's references, I have included a screenshot of my institution's "/accounts/1/settings" area, specifically between "Default Time Zone" and "Allow Self-Enrollment".
@erinhmcmillan We know that we have users on and working past the midnight hour. We are also concerned about our SIS data during these times. Our SIS data pushes through Kimono, and we would like to ensure that these outages would not prevent those nightly ingestions.
@erinhmcmillan We have nightly SIS loads that could be impacted by this. Our SIS loads are at 11:30 PM/12:00 AM EST.
@jsowalsk @degensp28 We're not doing anything differently with maintenance than we have in the past except publicly announce more specific maintenance windows.
Any properly configured SIS should be designed to know when there's maintenance and then pick back up when the maintenance is over. Your system may have already encountered such events.
I'd recommend reaching out to your SIS provider to find out how they handle maintenance requests that may be returned by the API. They could give you more specifics.
Is there a list that states the work done and how long the system was impacted?
We're still following the existing process where the only notifications that will come are via email to admins, alerting them if maintenance is expected.
@erinhmcmillan Hi Erinhmcmillan, I want to change my user name. canvas' edit personal information page does not allow me to change my name. What should I do？
It looks like you are associated with the University of Sydney in Australia.
I would recommend that you contact the University's ICT Service Desk. Information about how to contact them can be found at https://www.sydney.edu.au/students/canvas.html.