UPDATE: MDOT Bid Results Download Interruptions

If you are a MITA member who bids on projects in the MDOT arena, you will know that on Friday, February 7th, MDOT experienced another frustrating interruption in their download of the bid results from that day’s bid letting.

Unfortunately, this is not the first bid download interruption MDOT has experienced, as there have been a handful of similar download interruptions over the last several months.

Since this most recent bid download interruption was the second such episode in the past three months, MITA was very aggressive in our communications with MDOT about this situation.  In those communications, we insisted that MDOT press Infotech very hard to identify the root of this reoccurring problem and to provide an immediate and permanent solution.

Yesterday, Infotech provided MDOT with their report on the most recent download interruption, which included an analysis of that situation, as well as their proposed solution to ensure another bid download interruption does not occur with future bid lettings.  The following are the relevant excerpts from that report:

What happened:

On Friday, February 7, 2020, Bid Express experienced slower than normal response times.  First and foremost, no bids were lost.

There were a total of seven DOT bid openings between 10:30 am EST – 1:00 pm EST.

In addition to those bid openings, at approximately 10:10 AM EST, another DOT was opening bids on a prior letting as a test.

At the same time multiple agencies were opening bids, there was an abnormal increase in requests for the Apparent Bids page results. This caused Infotech’s web servers to become significantly slower to respond over a short period of time. Requests that traditionally take less than one second to complete were taking between five and 59 seconds to complete until the issue was resolved. While the service was slow, the service never went down.

The Bid Express service has a multi-server configuration, and the service was operating at a degraded performance level.  Each server was upsized and restarted on an individual basis to ensure service availability.  By 11:45 AM EST, the Bid Express service was operating in its normal capacity.

What are we doing to ensure this does not happen again:

Moving forward, Infotech is implementing scaling on their servers, which will allocate additional computing power during periods of increased load. In addition, Infotech will improve the overall responsiveness of the Apparent Bids page. Implementing scaling and improving the responsiveness of the Apparent Bids page provides assurance that this incident will not occur again.

MITA will stay engaged with MDOT on this matter as we keep a watchful eye on future bid lettings to ensure the required transparency and integrity of the “electronic bidding process” is maintained.

If you have any questions please contact Glenn Bukoski, VP of Engineering Services, at glennbukoski@thinkmita.org or by calling him at 517-347-8336.