Archive for April, 2012

Ellucian’s Application Management Services

0 Commentsby   |  04.23.12  |  Ellucian, General, Oracle, database

A few months ago, ACU signed an agreement to use Ellucian’s AMS offering to manage our Oracle database environment. Beginning May 1st, Ellucian will take over the management of 26 databases and 4 application servers all residing on 21 servers. We continue to push toward that May 1 deadline and have identified a few issues that need to be resolved before Ellucian takes over. We are close.

The most important thing I would pass on about this process is to start early and have plenty of time for the issues that come up. In this case, we did not anticipate some of the issues so this last week is going to be stressful for us and the folks at Ellucian while we mop up those outstanding issues. One of the biggest challenges facing this project is that the servers that Ellucian needs access to were not on the subnet we needed them to be on. There has been a concerted effort on the part of our systems administration team to get the servers Ellucian needs access to onto a private subnet. A little explanation is in order here.

Ellucian accesses the machines under their AMS contract through a VPN box that is set up in the our machine room. Once configured and installed, the IP Addresses and the corresponding subnet are established on the VPN box, thereby limiting which boxes Ellucian employees have access to. This eliminates the need to expose more servers than necessary by defining via the subnet mask the boxes that are available through the VPN.

Needless to say, most of the 31 machines that Ellucian needs access to under the terms of our agreement were not in the right subnet. Our systems administration team is busy making sure the appropriate boxes have the correct subnet entry so Ellucian can find the boxes once they’ve authenticated to the VPN. All said and done, we needed to have started this step a few weeks earlier. We will get all the boxes moved by the start date of the services change but it would have been much less stressful if we had a few more weeks.

A second issue that I believe we are about to run into is the number of databases being supported by Ellucian. We established in the contract with Ellucian the number of databases, server and application servers they would need to support. Well as luck or life would have it, more services are coming online every week (can you imagine a world where everything stays static for long periods of time — I can’t) and already has an impact on the agreement we signed a few months ago. So, my suggestion here is to look as far into the future as you can and try to guesstimate the number of services you will ask Ellucian to manage. You may still not hit it perfectly (as we didn’t) but all the planning you can do helps. It will be up to ACU and Ellucian to find a way through this challenge. We will either have to ask Ellucian to take on additional databases at no extra cost, eliminate some of the databases already on the list through other projects or creativeness, or be prepared to pay more for Ellucian’s AMS. The second of those statement is where I think we will land.

One of the first areas I want Ellucian to look at carefully is the ODS product we’ve licensed from them. Through no fault of any one person, we’ve had a tough time keeping that database running (power outages have wreaked havoc on that system). I’ve made it clear, hopefully, to Ellucian that this is one area I’m expecting the calvary to ride in and solve the problems. There are others for sure but this one is paramount in my mind.

As painful as all of this sounds, I’m really looking forward to a long term relationship with Ellucian relative to the management of our databases and other components. I believe the number and quality of people that Ellucian provides through this service will allow ACU to focus on more strategic areas and will ensure more reliability in our systems going forward.

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the week and into the next few weeks as Ellucian picks up the support of our environment.

Dev Cycle 24

0 Commentsby   |  04.19.12  |  Uncategorized

We finished up Development Cycle 24 last week, which spans March 26th through April 13th.  Here is a brief summary of where our work was focused this last cycle by individual projects:

  • 1 issue released from Admissions Applications
  • 1 issue released from Banner AR
  • 2 issues released from Banner Alumni
  • 4 issues released from Banner Financial Aid
  • 1 issue released from Banner HR
  • 1 issue released from Banner Student
  • 1 issue released from Business Intelligence
  • 2 issues released from Discoverer
  • 1 issue released from Evisions
  • 1 issue released from iPhone Application in Banner
  • 3 issues released from My Mobile tab
  • 1 issue released from Passport Registration
  • 2 issues released from Reeher
  • 2 issues released from Tableau
  • 6 issues released from Talisma
  • 2 issues released from Xythos

Attached is Dev Cycle 24 – Resolved Issues so that you can see additional details about each issue.

Dev Cycle 23

0 Commentsby   |  04.02.12  |  Uncategorized

We finished up Development Cycle 23, which spans March 5th through March 23rd.   Most of the work in this cycle centered around maintenance and resolving application errors.  Attached is Dev Cycle 23 – Resolved Issues so that you can see what all was accomplished.