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About Optimizing Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Learn has a three-tiered architecture consisting of a web server, an application server, and a relational database.


Blackboard Learn Architecture

For current information about supported configurations, see the Supported Technologies page for your release, which is accessible through the Learn 9.1 Maintenance Center on Behind the Blackboard.

Characteristics of the Blackboard Learn application architecture and its flexible deployment options enable clients to scale and optimize the performance and responsiveness of their Blackboard Learn deployment in their particular environment:

  • Distributed Processing Load: The Blackboard Learn processing model, which is based on Web 2.0 and client-rich technologies, distributes the load between the client-side browser, the application, and the database. This reduces the perceived response time for users because they can interact with the page as it loads elements asynchronously.
  • Server-Side Caching: The Blackboard Learn server-side caching architecture uses Ehcache in a number of areas to reduce the number of time-consuming trips to the database to fulfill requests for data that does not change during the course of a user's session. Ehcache is a pure Java™, in-process cache that is designed for large, high concurrency systems. Each of these caching structures is configured within the file and can be configured on a case-by-case basis.
  • Flexible Deployment Options: The Blackboard Learn architecture supports maximum scalability and high service levels by providing a variety of deployment options, including load-balancing, application tier clustering, and virtualization. Although Blackboard Learn can be deployed in a traditional horizontal manner, it also can be clustered at the application tier to load balance from the web server to multiple JVMs, or virtualized to run multiple instances of Blackboard Learn and the web server on virtualized servers. To make the best use of available hardware resources, Blackboard Learn can be deployed using any or a combination of two or three of these options.

To learn more about the recommended architecture for a Windows environment, see the following white paper:

Optimizing Blackboard Academic Suite [Blackboard Learn] on Dell Servers and Storage: Taking Advantage of Virtualized Resources.