The highly rated research institution reduces system outages, lowers costs, and sparks innovation with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).
“The support we receive from Oracle’s cloud team is outstanding. Their guidance has empowered our technical staff to step away from system maintenance tasks and envision myriad opportunities to leverage OCI to enhance the services we provide to students and staff.”
Queen’s University Belfast (Queen’s), a Russell group university, combines outstanding educational facilities with ground-breaking research. 99% of the institution’s research environment is rated world-leading or internationally excellent, per expert review panels within the UK’s Research Excellence Framework.
In the past, the university hosted its student information system (QSIS), built with Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solution, in an on-premises data center with virtual machines. As that infrastructure aged, end users experienced inconsistent performance during times of peak demand. IT expenses were a fixed cost that remained constant even during times of low system usage. Extensive manual effort and lengthy outages were required by internal IT staff to perform system maintenance and patching. Additionally, the existing infrastructure could not support an upgrade to the latest version of PeopleSoft, which prevented the university from benefiting from the latest solution enhancements. These challenges negatively impacted staff morale as they spent most of their time on maintaining status quo, with little opportunity to invest time and resources on innovation. Consequently, Queen’s leadership evaluated providers for migrating their on-premises to a high-performing, cost effective, and secure cloud infrastructure solution.
Queen’s selected OCI as the only cloud solution that could significantly lower the university’s IT costs while also meeting performance and security requirements.
Why Queen’s University Belfast chose Oracle
Queen’s evaluated AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) cloud offerings. The underlying business case focused on assessing the benefits of moving to the cloud rather than just on the functional aspects of replacing infrastructure. The university leveraged the services of Oracle partner, Version1, to confirm that the Cloud would natively provide comprehensive security, scale up and down to fluctuations in demand, offer the highest levels of performance and availability, and deliver resiliency and speed to implement cloud disaster recovery. With these requirements met, Queen’s selected OCI as the cost and functional option to address their challenges.
Queen’s migrated its QSIS to OCI in just six months, including upgrading to the latest version of PeopleSoft Campus Solutions. Oracle Autonomous Linux running on OCI provided capabilities for automatic and zero downtime patching. Technical staff now experience more granular control over the shape and size of environments, allowing for optimum server configuration and CPU and memory scaling to help reduce costs. Running PeopleSoft on OCI delivers enhanced monitoring and alerts. IT staffers use native file and object storage to reduce the number of servers and operating systems that need patching.
Disaster recovery improved after the company established environments and backups in multiple Oracle cloud regions. Failover to backup systems produces an estimated 30-second system outage, a dramatic improvement over previous processes that would have resulted in multi-hour outages.
Overall, Queens’s gained the ability to scale to fluctuating demand, automate maintenance activities, increase system monitoring, and reduce system outages, while it also tracks IT spend more accurately.
The partner Version 1 implemented the project, working in tandem with some of the technical staff at the University. Queen's was delighted with Oracle’s support as well. In total, the migration took five months to go live.
About the customer
Founded in 1845 as Queen's College Belfast, Queen’s became an independent university in 1908. Today, the university is ranked 198 in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023) and is a member of the Russell Group of UK research intensive universities. Queen’s University research has been rated joint 1st in the UK for Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science and 4th in the UK for Health and Biomedical Sciences by the REF 2021. Law research has been ranked 8th in the UK.