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Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) is a private Christian liberal arts college located in Parkland, a suburb of Tacoma, Washington, that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a variety of academic disciplines. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. PLU has approximately 3,500 students enrolled between the graduate and undergraduate programs. As of 2012, the school employs 283 full-time professors on the 156-acre woodland campus.
The university recently needed to move to the newest releases of Banner—the enterprise resource planning (ERP) and student system software suite from Ellucian (formerly Sungard)—which supports various administrative and student-facing processes including admissions, registration, advising, and financial aid. The latest software releases required a move to Oracle Database 11g and Oracle Linux for continued support. A long-time Oracle Database customer, PLU made the move to the latest version and experienced even greater performance and reliability than ever before, due to non-disruptive patching, no impact to the enterprise resource planning application, and more integrated features. With Oracle, PLU is well-positioned for continued growth as it estimates data volume could rise by 10 gigabytes every five years as the university rolls out new IT systems and services, including mobile applications for students.
“What I really love about Oracle is that Oracle either leads the revolution or is very well aware of what is happening and is there to support its customers with new technology and a seamless way of getting there. The upgrade process gets better, stronger, and easier to track.” – Kathleen O’Donnell, Database Administrator, Pacific Lutheran University
To move to the latest Banner software release, Pacific Lutheran needed to upgrade to Oracle Database 11g and move to Oracle Linux. The university put together a “sandbox” environment in June 2011 to train its system analysts on the new technology. It built a test server and loaded it by October 2011 for end user testing. Pacific Lutheran went live on December 28, 2011, ahead of schedule.
Since going live, the organization has also benefited from Oracle Premier Support to ensure a high performing system.
“We are very pleased with the high level of customer support and technical assistance Oracle makes available to us. Oracle acts immediately to resolve even the smallest problem, demonstrating a level of commitment that has exceeded our expectations. Our investment in Oracle Premier Support is incredibly valuable, and we wouldn’t think of not having coverage of all our Oracle software,” O’Donnell said.