Catalyst Launches Cloud-Based Moodle for La Trobe University

Catalyst IT is proud to announce that we have successfully transitioned the full management and support of the Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) for La Trobe University (LTU) in Melbourne, Victoria. Moodle is a free and open source Enterprise LMS used in schools, universities and workplaces across the globe.

Moodle has been a core part of La Trobe's learning delivery toolset since 2011 – managed both in-house and via external providers. As part of the ongoing cloud strategy from the La Trobe Executive team, the decision was made to partner with Catalyst to migrate the existing Moodle LMS onto the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform.

La Trobe University has an extremely active Moodle LMS, being one of the core business applications in their suite of learning delivery tools. In a typical academic day, the LMS can see as many as 40,000 unique visitors, generating up to a million page views.

The activity profile on an modern university LMS is 24x7, meaning the architecture and application needed to be built to the highest of standards to deliver a highly available (HA) and scalable solution.

Catalyst are an AWS Partner, with considerable experience in building and managing complicated Enterprise application stacks, the delivered AWS solution featured:

  • Underlying infrastructure located in Australian geographic region, with multiple Availability Zones meaning no single point of failure.
  • Powerful application compute capability – AWS EC2
  • Isolated application network capability – AWS VPC
  • Secure and scalable HTTPS Load Balancer – AWS ELB
  • Highly performant PostgreSQL database – AWS RDS
  • In-memory caching service visible across our application stack – AWS Elasticache
  • Automatic scaling of application resources based on demand – AWS Auto Scaling
  • Scalable file system service, allowing us easy ability to increase the application storage capacity where required – AWS EBS
  • Object storage for application and backup data assets – AWS S3
  • Automated build and orchestration scripts, meaning less overhead to the creation of new environments as required – AWS CloudFormation
  • Powerful reporting interface, giving us the ability to analyse usage, performance and capacity – AWS Cloudwatch

The delivery phase of the project included intensive rounds of integration and performance testing, with the final acceptance criteria being an 8-hour-long performance test of the cloud-based solution before “go live”. During the load test, there was a constant load of 180k page views per hour – which is five times the average maximum load of the existing site. To everyone's great pride, Moodle was still responsive with page load times under 1 second.

Our congratulations and thanks to all the La Trobe University stakeholders. We look forward to further successful outcomes using the power of Moodle and AWS.