Higher Colleges of Technology Completes End-of-Semester Processes 75% Faster with Database Transformation
 
 

Higher Colleges of Technology Completes End-of-Semester Processes 75% Faster with Database Transformation

The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) is a system of 17 colleges across United Arab Emirates (UAE). HCT is the largest public, higher-education institution in the UAE, with a full-time enrollment of about 18,000 students, and 2,000 staff. HCT prides itself in providing students with a technologically sophisticated, e-learning environment that encourages development of independent and life-long learning skills.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from Higher Colleges of Technology

  • “Enabling student success is a key aspect of the Higher Colleges of Technology’s (HCT) strategy, and, from an IT perspective, we achieve that success when we can provide real-time access to resources and information anytime and anywhere. For HCT, Oracle Exadata is delivering superb performance and has accelerated our end-of-semester processes by an average 75%, and it delivered an immediate return on investment by fully leveraging our new and existing resources.” ‒ Sanjeev Ananth, Chief Technology Officer, Higher Colleges of Technology

  • Migrate large, critical, academic administration and student-progress data sets seamlessly from end-of-life server to a new scalable, high-performance environment, that is rapidly deployed and provides significant capacity for future growth
  • Provide consistent real-time business process analytics and functional enterprise resource planning (ERP), scheduling, business and institutional research teams at each college site
  • Support hardware and software through a single vendor also capable of seamlessly integrating long-established systems, including third-party solutions such as customized ERP, resource scheduling, and learning management applications for higher education users
  • Improve query responses for major end-of-semester business processes, such as student registration, to aid financial planning and student body growth
  • Provide bandwidth and capacity to develop and deploy innovative higher education systems and processes, for example: mobile self-service course scheduling for students

Solutions

  • Consolidated six end-of-life HP-UX servers, assorted storage devices, and all related licenses by deploying a quarter-rack Oracle Exadata Database Machine, four Oracle Exadata Storage Servers and Oracle Linux in just one month, increasing by 10x the batch process performance of a 2.5TB mission-critical database for college staff and students
  • Integrated Oracle Forms and Oracle Reports seamlessly with Ellucian Banner ERP for Higher Education, Scientia Syllabus Plus resource scheduling and Blackboard learning management platforms, ensuring real-time access to application data for a growing population of 2,000 academic administrative and 18,000 student users
  • Accelerated business processing performance by an average of 75%, including completing end-of-semester grade point average calculations in six hours rather than three days, and closing each monthly staff payroll in two minutes rather than three hours
  • Delivered unprecedented database query performance with Oracle Exadata, driving new student services and learning methodologies, such as enabling remote, online comparisons of assigned grades and requirements, tracking coursework completion, and providing more accurate student assessments through real-time performance analytics
  • Provided real-time, self-service access to information, such as budgets and student progress, enabling more accurate administrative and financial planning, with direct positive impact on student headcount and, ultimately, overall HCT funding
  • Initiated a unique HCT mobile learning environment for students and faculty, enabled by the highly available resources Oracle Exadata delivered, allowing students to schedule their own courses online and for staff to track reading and study times

Why Oracle

Following an eight-month research and selection process, HCT selected Oracle as the market solution provider capable of migrating all of HCT’s mission-critical databases into a single environment that delivered consistent performance for its development, functional ERP, scheduling, business analytics, and institutional research teams with consistent performance.

“HCT has trusted Oracle with the management of its data since we implemented an early version of Oracle Database. That said, deploying Oracle Exadata presented a unique turnkey opportunity for us. We’ve seen a gratifying immediate return on investment by deploying an extreme performance environment that fully utilizes our resources and has drastically improved performance across all our mission- critical applications,” said Sanjeev Ananth, chief technology officer, Higher Colleges of Technology.

Implementation Process

HCT worked with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services to implement and configure its Oracle Exadata platform in just one month, enabling HCT to test for three months before going live. Much of the testing revolved around gaining a complete understanding of Oracle Linux within a heterogeneous environment that supported tight integration with HCT’s existing ERP, scheduling, and learning management systems from Ellucian Banner, Scientia Syllabus Plus, and Blackboard LMS. Since going live, HCT has also successfully installed several routine patches to its new database and storage systems. One of the attractive qualities of Oracle Exadata for HCT was its promised aptitude for seamless migrations of complex data environments, on which it has delivered. HCT has also received backup and recovery, configuration, performance and security assessments from Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services.