Tharseo IT Helps UAFS Migrate Ellucian Banner ERP in a Multiregion Deployment on Oracle Cloud


After transitioning from a small town community college to a top-six state university, an Arkansas-based college began modernizing its entire campus operations, migrating multiple Elllucian Banner applications, shared services, and databases to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Despite its initial struggle to qualify for performance-based public funding, the university would soon surmount this challenge with the help of managed services provider Tharseo IT. But fulfilling the state’s ever-changing requirements would not only demand the college improve student completion and graduation rates, increase enrollment of underserved student groups, and make tuition more affordable, it also needed to achieve these goals with a small IT team and an even smaller budget.

Founded in 1928 as an extension of a private high school, the college’s first students, faculty, and administrators swept hallways, washed windows, and painted the walls of offices, and classrooms just so the college could afford to keep the lights on.  In contrast to its humble beginning, recent public funding programs have helped the college flourish, with some 6,500 students enrolling each year and contributing millions of dollars to the Arkansas state economy.

Highlights of the college’s architecture include:

  • Production environment is deployed in a single OCI region across three availability domains
  • Ellucian Banner ERP and a Banner Document Management System (commonly known as BDMS) are deployed in an application tier in the OCI US-Ashburn region/li>
  • In addition to deploying a single production Banner pluggable database (PDB-Alpha) in OCI, a non-production database (Beta) was also deployed to support test and pre-production PDBs
  • The network topology is comprised of an Ashburn-based VCN with 11 subnets
  • Disaster recovery (DR) was recently stood up in the OCI region of US Phoenix, containing one VCN, and 11 subnets.
  • The DR region has been peered with Ashburn via remote procedure calls (RPCs) through Dynamic Routing Gateways (DRGs), and now has the production application server volumes georeplicating between the regions
  • A jump host is used to schedule scripts for non-production VM state changes (start/stop) to minimize costs after business hours


Tharseo has helped this university move its on premises deployment of Ellucian Banner ERP (Banner) to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. This deployment of Banner consists of the following components:

  • Self Service Banner (Student)
  • Self Service Banner (Admin)
  • Job Submission Server
  • Document Manager (Xtender)
  • Workflow
  • Forms
  • Solution Manager
  • Central Authentication Serivce (CAS)

To control access to its OCI tenancy, the university’s students, faculty, and staff access Banner through the campus network. This network is connected with two site-to-site VPN tunnels, which are set up in an active-standby configuration. Users first access the CAS server for authentication, and are then passed to their destination, depending on the Banner component they wish to access. The Banner components are spread across multiple availability domains. The CAS is in a shared services subnet where it straddles both the production and non-production environments.

An application subnet hosts the Banner components, while the management subnet is deployed to host the solution manager. A database subnet is deployed to host the Banner Database, which is deployed on OCI, using Oracle Base Database Service. An edge subnet is deployed to host a jump server.

While the system isn’t currently designed for high availability, the university has created a disaster recovery plan, which includes using the OCI region in Phoenix as a warm standby.

Data volumes are replicated every 30 minutes across regions through a remote peering connection (RPC). In the event there’s an outage in the primary region (OCI Region Ashburn), the university will be able to attach and boot the replicated volumes to restore the application.

Cloud Guard is enabled for security posture monitoring. Object Storage is used to store backups. The university intends to utilize Oracle File Storage Service to store Banner home code trees and for configuration and deployment files utilized by Ellucian Solution Manager taking the place of NFSd running from VMs.

Additional subnets are created (not shown) for the non-production environments. These subnets mirror the production subnets.

On the roadmap for the university are the following:

  • Explore high availability with load balancers and creating additional instances across fault domains
  • Implement Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC) for high availability of the database
  • Deploy a web application firewall (WAF) as an additional layer of security, The WAF can be implemented with both private and public load balancers to inspect both internal and external traffic
  • Enable OCI Security Zone to provide additional monitoring of the security posture of the tenancy
  • Review the disaster recovery plan and implement Oracle Data Guard to replicate the database and create site to site VPN tunnels from the campus network to the standby region
  • Evaluate OCI Full Stack Disaster Recovery Service to provide automation of the failover process
  • Explore OCI Observability and Management (O&M) services to enable more insight into the performance of the environment