Ed-Fi ODS/API and Data Management Service FAQ

The recent Ed-Fi blog post New Cloud-Native Functionality Coming to the Ed-Fi Alliance Technology Suite introduced a piece of software under active development, the Ed-Fi Data Management Service. Eventually, this software will replace the Ed-Fi ODS/API Platform. Unsurprisingly, a few themes emerged in the questions and conversations at Ed-Fi Tech Congress 2024. We will try to address some of the most common below.

Q: What does the future look like for the legacy ODS/API Platform?

The Ed-Fi Alliance plans to continue support for the ODS/API Platform through school year 2027-2028.

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As shown in the diagram above:

  • Ed-Fi ODS/API Platform (“ODS/API”) version 5.4, coming out in summer 2024, will be supported for one more school year. The 5.x line of code was first released in 2020, for the 2021-2022 school year. It supported Data Standard 3 (current: 3.3).

  • ODS/API 6.2, this past February, supports Data Standard 4.0. No further feature enhancements are planned. It will be supported in production at least through the 2025-2026 school year; this may be extended depending on community adoption of the newer ODS/API 7.x releases.

  • ODS/API 7.2 will be released in June, and we plan to continue with biannual feature enhancements (and bug fixes) for the next several years.

    This version supports Data Standard 4 and Data Standard 5. It will be fully supported at least through school year 2027-2028. Continued support for one more year beyond this will be negotiable based on actual circumstances, if the expense of maintaining it can be kept low.

"Support" means that the Ed-Fi Alliance will release updates as needed for critical bugs and security issues, and the most recent major version (e.g. ODS/API 7.x) may continue receiving new features and enhancements. Anyone wanting the latest bug fixes will always need to install the most recent minor/patch release for the same major version. For example, someone wanting bug fixes for ODS/API 6.1 will need to install ODS/API 6.2, as there will not be another stand-alone bug fix or patch release to 6.1.

Q: When will the Data Management Service be available?

Goal timeline:

  1. Preview release in September, in time for the Ed-Fi Summit 2024. The goal is to have something people can use in basic scenarios, something functional and performant enough to give feedback on core Ed-Fi API functionality.

  2. Release candidate 1 in spring 2025, with enough features to satisfy a typical deployment for a Local Education Agency. Only recommended for those who are engaged with the Project Tanager Technical Workgroup.

  3. Release candidate 2 in fall 2025, with enough features to satisfy a typical deployment for a State Education Agency.

  4. Potential Release 1.0 in spring 2026, available for production usage in school year 2026-2027.

The first release candidate will be fully-compatible with the must have requirements described in the https://edfi.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/EFAPIGUIDE/pages/144867329 . The second release candidate will expand further into the should have and optional requirements and features. State Education Agencies (SEA) frequently have more detailed technical requirements for client authorization and for access to raw data for warehousing and reporting. Tentatively, those features will be given a longer timeline; this will provide more opportunity for co-development with the SEA community.

The final release will not have complete parity with the optional features in the ODS/API Platform (see note below). The Project Tanager Technical Workgroup and/or Technical Advisory Group (TAG) will help guide prioritization of features.

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An example of an ODS/API feature that is not planned for the Data Management Service: link elements in the xyzReference sections when retrieving a resource with a GET request. See https://edfi.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/EFAPIGUIDE/pages/133791871/GET+Requests#Deprecation-of-Links for more information.

Q: Will integrations built for the ODS/API continue to work with the new system?

The Data Management Service will be a fully compatible Ed-Fi API implementation. Client applications that interact with the REST API will continue to work.

The backend data store will be very different from the ODS/API. Existing database integrations will not be able to work directly with the core set of database tables. The application will introduce new integration capabilities, such as the use of streaming events in Kafka. However, we recognize that many existing Ed-Fi installations have critical reporting and analytics systems that currently integrate directly with the ODS database. We are committed to working with the community to create a pathway that allows agencies to leverage their existing data integrations; for example, there is a proposal to build database views that look like the tables from the ODS database.

Q: Will integrations built for the Admin API continue to work with the new system?

Yes – if referring to the Admin API specification. No – if referring to the specific software. The Data Management Service will have a vastly different database system than the ODS/API, including restructuring of the data currently housed in the EdFi_Admin and EdFi_Security databases. The project will introduce a new application, tentatively called the Ed-Fi Configuration Service. The plan is to implement the Admin API specification (version 2), so that applications and scripts developed on this specification can interact seamlessly either with the platform of today or of tomorrow.

Q: How can I / my team get involved?

The Ed-Fi Alliance is launching a technical workgroup that will meet monthly for the next year, helping with prioritization, review, and testing of the software.

Anyone wishing to contribute at the level of design or application code level is invited to review the Project Tanager design repository and the DMS Project in Ed-Fi Tracker (Ed-Fi community account required) to understand current and upcoming work. Please see How to Contribute for more information.