Online Exams – Can they Survive the Load?

IGNOU’s online exam bombed as Yahoo servers couldn’t take the load of 9,000 students. And now, CAT is all set to go online with close to 2.5 Lakh students. Is there enough capacity planning being done by companies?

CAT is all set to go online this year and the exam will be conducted in 32 cities through 105 testing centres. While aspirants figure out the challenges with new format, the most important question for CAT to answer is on the server load.

IGNOU tried the online entrance exam and the entire online infrastructure collapsed within few minutes of the exam (Yahoo! was the infrastructure provider and IGNOU has asked Yahoo for a detailed report/explanation on the collapse).

The IGNOU exam had only 9,350 students (CAT is expected to have 2.42 Lakh students) and while it questions the entire infrastructure/capacity planning, it does throws some perspective/expected challenges to CAT authority (CAT will be held in two sessions each day for 10 days, between November 28 and December 7).

As far as CAT is concerned, Prometric which won the contract (close to $40mn deal) has partnered with NIIT for the operational support.

But as far as the online infrastructure is concerned, it’s a different ballgame. If Yahoo servers couldn’t handle 9,000 candidates – do you see a need for fallback (OMR?) option during the CAT exams?

Are exam authorities jumping the gun by going online too soon?

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