Every year, the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) generates about 250 gigabytes of data from students, which is equivalent to watching 50 high-definition movies on the internet. For the next Common Entrance Test (CET), however, the KEA wants to upgrade its data servers.
This year, students and parents faced many technical glitches during the seat allotment process, which KEA officials attribute to low capacity of their servers.
Presently, the KEA uses 22 servers with 32GB random access memory (RAM). The servers, located in the state’s data centre, have been rented from the e-governance unit. “This year, our servers reached 31GB, almost the threshold capacity, leading to buffer delays and other glitches,” said a senior KEA official.
Government web services provider National Informatics Centre (NIC), according to sources, has asked the KEA to provide 26 high-end servers with a minimum 64GB RAM for next year’s CET. It is the NIC that has developed the software for the centralised seat allotment process.
“The e-governance unit has expressed its inability to give us on rent the kind of servers NIC expects us to provide. These high-end servers will cost between `10 lakh and `12 lakh each and purchasing 26 servers will take at least three months through a tender process,” the official said.
KEA Administrative Officer S P Kulkarni said there were six dedicated servers, apart from the 22 main servers, for dead data storage. “At any given point of time, we have servers with storage capacity of 300GB in the event there is a breakdown or crash,” Kulkarni said adding that two of the main servers had been upgraded from 32GB to 64GB RAM.
With the State government planning to introduce a single CET next year (without a Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental Colleges of Karnataka exam), the KEA will have more students and data to handle. “Every year, we conduct the CET for 1.30 lakh students, of which 20,000 also write COMED-K. We will have to handle 60,000 non-Karnataka students who write just the COMED-K, which means we will need more than 26 servers,” the official explained.
According to sources, the KEA incurs about `3-4 crore on data maintenance every year.