Tharseo IT helps Marshall U Migrate Ellucian Banner ERP, Degree Works, and Databases to Oracle Cloud


To help modernize student services and campus operations for a West Virgina-based university, managed service provider Tharseo IT migrated the college’s Ellucian Banner 9X ERP, five Banner databases, and a DegreeWorks 5X application from an on-campus data center to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

Needing a more modern, scalable, and reliable data platform to run its applications and databases, Tharseo also helped the university deploy a predictive analytics engine to monitor its systems, a disaster recovery region to improve business continuity, and a virtualized on-demand server infrastructure so its IT teams could immediately allocate resources across multiple systems, based on the changing needs of students, faculty, and staff.

After analyzing the university’s on premises environment, Oracle provided a sizing recommendation based on peak traffic to the college’s application workloads. Admittedly, the university’s IT team lacked experience operating in the cloud, so to minimize risk and ensure a successful transition, the university partnered with Tharseo IT to help migrate:

  • Ellucian Banner 9x ERP to OCI, including modules for students, HR, and financial aid among others. The university also migrated Banner Workflow, and Banner Document Management
  • Four tiers of Banner database instances, including one for production, two for staging, and an auxiliary instance for development
  • DegreeWorks 5X, helping students and their advisors to evaluate academic progress towards completion of student degrees
  • Dozens of third-party systems interfaces

Improving and preserving business continuity was among the university’s top priorities for this cloud migration, and the reason Tharseo helped this student research institution to:

  • Set up a disaster recovery region using Rackware, and providing database replicas for failover
  • Configure Oracle Data Guard to quickly restore data
  • Retain and archive data using Oracle Object Storage


There are multiple ways to deploy Ellucian Banner (Banner) in the cloud. The deployment of Banner depends on the modules and components a university decides to implement. The rest of the architecture decisions will be based on infrastructure, security, and availability requirements.

Banner consists of modules and components within the application, running on virtual instances. The first component is the Banner Administrator (Banner Admin) application. Banner Admin is used to manage financial, student, and human resource information. Banner Admin is accessed by university faculty and staff only. For security purposes, Banner Admin is only accessible via a private IP Address in a private subnet, from within the univesity campus network (campus network), from on-premises, and through a site-to-site VPN tunnel to the Dynamic Routing Gateway (DRG) into the OCI Virtual Cloud Network. The second component is Self Service Banner (SSB). SSB is access by students, faculty, and staff, SSB is used for managing grades, classes, transcripts, schedules, class rosters, facility work orders, benefits and earnings, and budgeting. This university has chosen to make this accessible from within the campus network only. Access to Banner must first traverse through the university campus networkand through the site-to-site VPN into the OCI Virtual Cloud Network (VCN). An on-premises load balancer on the campus network is used for load balancing.

Degree Works is a separate application that is deployed. Degree Works is accessed by students for degree auditing, through the same channels as SSB. Degree Works integrates with Banner through batch jobs and database links. Degree Works pulls data from the Banner database.

A virtual instance is used for batch job submission. The job submission virtual instance is a batch procssing daemon that communicates via DBMS_PIPES or Advanced Queueing (AQ). Faculty/Staff submits requests for reports that the job submission virtual instance will execute.

Two environments are created, one for production (PROD) and another for test and development (Non-Prod). The app tiers are separated into two subnets. A single subnet is used for the database tier that consists of both PROD and Non-Prod databases.

Oracle Base Database Service is used to store the data generated by all banner components. Four databases are deployed to support Banner, the Banner DB, Data warehouse DB (DW), and Degree Works DB. File storage is used to store application configuration data. Object Storage is used to store backups.

There are additional supporting virtual machines that are deployed to support Banner such as Ethos API and Events Publisher.

For Disaster Recovery an Active-Passive configuration is deployed. Using Rackware, the application tier for PROD is staged to OCI Region – Phoenix. The OCI Phoenix – Region is connected via remote peering connection (RPC). Standby databases are deployed into Phoenix with data guard, replicating the database data.

To monitor the environment, the university has deployed OCI tools from the Observability and Management (O&M) Suite, database management and OCI Monitoring.

Tharseo is working with the universtiy to continue to modernize the infrastructure for Banner and take advantage of cloud native services to increase availability, security, and monitoring. On the roadmap for Tharseo and the university are the following:

  • High availability – The university is exploring options to use OCI Load Balancers to provide high availability.
  • Security – Security is a concern for the university, they are exploring OCI security tools such as OCI Security Zones, Cloud Guard, Vulnerability Scanning, Web Application Firewall (WAF), and Transparent Data Encryption (TDE). Isolating the portion of the application by faculty and staff only, will provide and additional layer of security. Isolating the test databases into its own subnet, will also provide and additional layer of security.
  • End-to-End visibility – Using additional features of O&M will allow the university to gain additional insight into the performance of Banner.