Sheffield University plan thwarted by obsolete Oracle database • The Register

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Sheffield University’s mission to develop a new £ 30.4 million student information management system, whose original design was retired last week after years of delay, stumbled upon the integration of enterprise software running on an effectively unsupported Oracle database.

According to information The registry, the University’s Corporate Information System (CIS) runs on Oracle 11.2.0.4.0, which ended premium support on January 31, 2015 and extended support on December 31, 2020. Oracle provides “sustaining support” and support options are available from third party party partners. We asked the university if they used one of them.

Observers will question the database’s role in the controversial implementation of a new Student Lifecycle Project (SLP) that dates back to 2014 when the university said it aimed to implement a “world-class” system that ” to fix fundamental technology problems, which, if allowed to deteriorate further, exposes the university to an inedible risk, “according to the freedom of information.

It was revealed last week that the institution had abandoned the original design of the project long after staff warned it would not be able to deliver the update.

In a statement to The registryA spokesperson said at the time, “The university is changing its approach to delivering the Student Lifecycle Program. As with any major transformation program in a large and complex organization our size, we need to take an agile approach ”and adapt to the things we learn as the program evolves.

“It turned out that it will not be possible, as originally planned, to integrate the Student Record Management System SITS into our current Corporate Information System (CIS), so we have to do this work in a different way. Investing in the program has already delivered new systems not previously available at the university, and our work so far will underpin the development of our plans for the future. We keep our employees up to date and will support them in continuing this work. “

After getting the explanation last week The registry received information that the CIS is running on an Oracle 11.2.0.4.0 database, according to an insider query “SELECT * FROM v $ version”.

Viewers may wonder if the database should be updated during the introduction of the Student Lifecycle Program.

Oracle provides Premier Support for the first five years of the life of most products, followed by three years of Extended Support. Afterwards there is the option of sustaining support from Oracle or third-party support.

With Sustaining Support, customers pay the same as Premier Support and get access to old fixes and the right to upgrade to the latest version. You don’t get new bugs fixed or general and security updates, said Martin Biggs, vice president and general manager of Spinnaker Support, who specializes in Oracle, SAP and Salesforce installations.

“Even if common vulnerabilities affecting this older software are identified, Oracle only patches the newer versions,” he said. “There is nothing inherently wrong with running 11.2.0.4 – it’s a stable and trustworthy version, but if something goes wrong Oracle would reply,” You need to upgrade “- which at Near is an incredibly expensive, risky, and time-consuming one Activity is no additional benefit unless Sheffield wants to take advantage of the new functionality of younger databases. “

The university was asked whether the database, which is no longer supported, was behind problems with the SLP rollout. It was also asked if it relies on the assistance of Oracle or a third party vendor to keep the database up and running and when to upgrade the system.

The registry has not yet received an answer. ®


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