Callista Software Services (Callista) provides enterprise resource planning software and student management systems for about a third of Australia’s tertiary education institutions. The company develops and delivers the Oracle-based Callista Student Management System (SMS), a comprehensive software system for universities and Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes. More than 300,000 local and international students around Australia—and hundreds of academic and administrative support staff—use Callista SMS and associated services daily to manage the entire student lifecycle, from initial inquiries about courses, to graduation.
Callista upgraded to Oracle Application Development Framework 11g (Oracle ADF 11g), Oracle JDeveloper 11g, Oracle WebLogic Server 11g, Oracle Forms 11g, and Oracle Reports 11g to align its student management system with evolving tertiary education business practices and requirements. It has improved the system’s functionality by upgrading more than 1,500 forms and reports, improving features available to Callista SMS users, and cutting total costs for clients to apply patching and upgrades.
Callista chose Oracle ADF 11g, as it was an application that would be easy to transition to and would integrate with existing Oracle Forms and Oracle Database products.
“Oracle ADF 11g was very compatible with the technology we were already using, and Oracle offered support to help our developers with the transition from Oracle Forms to Oracle ADF,” said Evan Vicary, general manager of technology and research, Callista.
The company chose Oracle WebLogic Server 11g as the platform for Callista SMS, since it wanted a more modular architecture that could handle a large number of shared libraries.
“We prototyped approximately 1,000 shared libraries on Oracle WebLogic Server, just to make sure that the approach we were using would actually work,” said Vicary. “WebLogic Server was able to handle that, which was very reassuring for us.”
Another benefit of Oracle WebLogic Server 11g was that Callista could run its entire student management system from the same deployment platform. This would allow a much easier integration between Oracle Forms 11g and Oracle ADF 11g, provide a unified view to Callista SMS users, and allow the company to modernize the system without disrupting clients’ daily student management tasks. It would also enable clients to complete upgrades and patching without redeploying their entire system.
Callista deployed its upgraded student management system in several stages over a period of about two years. In August 2010, the company released a version that ran on Oracle Database 11g to enable clients to move initially to the Oracle 11g platform. In March 2011, it upgraded the system to include Oracle Forms 11g, Oracle Reports 11g, and Oracle WebLogic Server 11g.
In early 2012, Callista released the final upgrade of its student management system, including functions that have been built with Oracle ADF 11g.
“We deployed it in stages, as wanted to deliver the Oracle 11g platform as quickly as possible,” said Vicary. “A lot of our clients have invested in local customizations, so we wanted to let them upgrade their local developments first, before rolling out the rest of the system.”
Callista used several Oracle partners at various stages of its student management system upgrade. Sage Computing Services provided the company with training in Oracle JDeveloper 11g and Oracle ADF 11g; Red Samurai Consulting reviewed the system architecture; and Rubicon Red acted as a consulting resource.
“We were happy with the involvement of all the Oracle partners we used,” said Vicary.