Banner Hosting to Move Off-Campus

We have decided to move the hosting of Banner, our main administrative system, to a facility managed by SunGard, the developers of Banner. We have decided this for three main reasons:

  1. SunGard understands Banner better than anyone in the world, and we will be able to benefit from this expertise as we manage the application, and perform upgrades.
  2. The data center where Banner will reside is a world-class facility that will provide us with a level of protection, security, and up-time that is a major improvement over how we manage Banner today.
  3. SunGard provides a disaster-recovery facility where we can recover should their primary data center fail.

This change will have only minimal impact on campus. For the most part, users of Banner will notice no real differences. GO shortcuts will remain the same and will point users to the new Banner hosted servers. As we go through the migration of the system from our facility to the SunGard facility, we will at some point have to freeze all development efforts for a period of about 6 weeks. This is currently scheduled for the October – November time frame. Functional areas are already planning around this schedule with the understanding that any patches required for regulatory compliance or tax updates will be granted an exception. Once the migration is complete, we will be back in business and able to continue with our development efforts.

The timeline for this project is as follows:

  • from now until October: LIS is working with SunGard to establish the hosting environment
  • November: Testing of the new installation will be done by administrative offices
  • Mid-December: Go live on the new system

We feel confident that this decision will improve the performance and reliability of this critical system, and will allow us to focus our precious human resources on Middlebury-specific issues, as we no longer have to spend time thinking about the system optimization, back-ups, and other critical but aspects of running this system. While this may seem like a radical move, it is in fact part of an on-going trend in Information Technology in Higher Education, as schools leverage the power of the Internet, the cloud, and hosting services to provide improved services to their campus.

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