We are pleased to announce the availability of the Cloud ODS and API Release Candidate 1 (RC1) to the Ed-Fi Community.

This solution simplifies the process and reduces the cost of deploying the core Ed-Fi Operational Data Store (ODS) and API functionality. And, it is an important step in expanding access to these core Ed-Fi technology tools to small to mid-size education agencies and stakeholders, as well as for agencies with fewer needs and smaller budgets.

With this work, our goal has been to produce a deployment of the core technology that does not require developer expertise for installation and management, and that can be hosted on Platform-as-a-Service environments (currently Microsoft Azure) for as little as one dollar per student annually.

The Cloud ODS and API RC1 solution offers the full Ed-Fi resource management APIs, API composites, and security features of the Ed-Fi ODS and API.

The key trade-off with the Cloud ODS is that it does not include the extensions framework present in the source code distribution (or “enterprise”) version of the Ed-Fi ODS and API. While that extensions framework is critical to many community use cases, the theory behind the Cloud ODS is that the core (i.e. non-extended) Ed-Fi data exchange standards also play an important role. This is the part of the Ed-Fi data standards with true cross-sector applicability.

As we see Ed-Fi Certification expanding and the number of certified Ed-Fi products growing, the Cloud ODS will serve as a tool that agencies can use to aggregate data from certified systems. Agencies can then explore and learn from that data, and provision data into other key systems, all without unnecessary ETL of comma-separated-value exports files or similar “brute-force” methods of data exchange that are unfortunately needed today, but waste resources that would be better used for teaching and learning.

We encourage you to take a look at the release candidate and provide feedback, so that we can continue to grow and advance Ed-Fi technology!