Page 8 - Campus Technology, January/February 2018
P. 8

But no matter what form the communications took, there was an extra layer of challenge to the project. While the senior people at the university spoke both Spanish and English, “junior” people were primarily Spanish language speakers. While Dynamic Campus has bilingual speakers, there weren’t as many as the company needed for this initiative, Middaugh acknowledged. Google’s translation features “helped some,” he said.
A Three-Week Migration Timeline
On the same day that the call from the university president came in, Dynamic Campus kicked off its planning, which was firmed up by Oct. 1. Between Oct. 1 and 3, the company set up the structure on AWS that would host Sagrado’s applications and data, including servers, storage, backups and internet links. On Oct. 3 and 4, the service provider worked with a San Juan computer security firm to set up a virtual private networking tunnel through which all data could be transferred in encrypted form.
Then the generator ran out of fuel. Since road closures prevented resupply trucks from arriving, the project was put on hold until Oct. 7, when the fuel could finally be delivered.
Between Oct. 7 and 10, Dynamic Campus copied everything from Sagrado to AWS. That was tackled in two “major bursts,” said Middaugh. First, the backup data was copied in order to get an estimate how long the transfer of
live data would take. Then Sagrado staffers were scheduled to stay out of the system for that same period to ensure the completeness and integrity of the transfer of about 8 terabytes of that data. Starting on Oct. 10 and ending on Oct. 14, the company undertook database configuration and installation of the software.
During the course of the migration, the university was moved to the newest versions of its software. That’s where minor problems surfaced, said Middaugh. PCs weren’t set
up to work with the newer applications, so those had to be tweaked. In addition, the three systems undertaken first — Jenzabar, PowerFAIDS and Moodle — were tied to Microsoft Active Directory for user account management, and that needed to be set up.
Starting on Oct. 14 Sagrado began performing user testing to make sure transactions could be completed and that users could do what they expected to be able to do. On Oct. 16, classes resumed.4
STOP BEING AFRAID OF THE CLOUD. Sagrado’s software infrastructure was “aged and in need of replacement,” said Middaugh. If the school had replaced that in the data center, the investment would have been between $400,000 and $800,000, he estimated. “Moving to AWS, their total cost every month will be less than $4,000.” As he added, “We’ve been trying to convince schools to do this for a while. When you’re getting ready to update your technology, it makes sense to look at the cloud, because there’s substantial savings.”
FIGURE IN LOSS OF STAFF. While you may have your data backed up and be able to bring your systems back up, when you go through a major disaster, you’ll lose some of your best people, Middaugh said. “When you have knowledge that is resident in but a few people, like how to admit a student or register a student, if you lose those people, either permanently or temporarily, that has a major impact on your ability to serve students.” That includes the loss of faculty too, he pointed out.
THINK LOGISTICALLY. That includes stockpiling essentials, such as fans and generators, said Middaugh, who’s based in Florida. Too few institutions go through what the schools in his state face every few years: a visit from the state auditor general’s office, which checks how prepared colleges and universities are to come back online in the event that a major disaster strikes. “You actually get tested,” he noted. “You have to prove you can do things.”
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | January/February 2018

   6   7   8   9   10