Update on Recent Registration System Disruptions

 

Update on Registration Progress as of 12/21/12:

Work continues on our troubleshooting process and the team is testing several configuration changes to improve the registration backend processes.

Information Technology Services & the Registrar’s Office have spoken with other Banner schools- those who have not experienced registration problems and those that have had issues.  We are specifically looking at how other universities structure their registration process to determine if it would help to change our registration practices to match.

Watch this space- we hope to have a breakthrough in the new year!

 

Update on Registration Progress as of 12/06/12:

As promised in our email to the University community on 11/19/2012, Information Technology Services is committed to fixing recent system issues with the registration process.  Here is a status update on progress made so far:

  1.  We have convened a team of IT and RegistarOffice personnel to jointly address the issues.
  2. We have logged tickets with our key vendors to report these issues.
  3. We have preserved a backup of the Banner database to help with analysis and testing.

Over the next 2 weeks, we will continue to:

  1. Review vendor recommendations for system tuning and performance optimization.
  2. Review vendor-issued patches and fixes that might be applicable to our environment.
  3. Review our custom code to ensure it complies with standards.
  4. Reach out to the other schools running Banner to learn about their registration experiences (both from a technical and functional perspective).

Information Technology Services will provide another update on progress on 12/19/2012.

Original Announcement on 11/19/12:

Information Technology Services apologizes for the service disruptions experienced during last week’s registration period.  We recognize that this is one of the most critical services we offer to the University community and the down times negatively impacted our students and advisors ability to register for courses.

To provide more detail on what happened and how we are continuing to address these issues, we have set up this update on our website with FAQs.

We are committed to providing updates to the Northeastern community every 2 weeks via this website as we continue to work with our vendors to troubleshoot this issue.  IS wants you to be assured that this is a top priority and that we will do everything we can to remediate the problem so that these issues do not occur again with our next major registration period in the spring.

If you have any questions about this about this service disruption, please contact the ITS Service Desk at 617.373.4357 or help@neu.edu.

When did the service disruptions occur?

During the registration week, the Banner Student registration system experienced slowness around 11:00 during the peak time ticket window.  In response, IS rebooted the Banner system and service was restored at the following times:

  • Tuesday, November 13 at 11:25AM – service was restored at 11:32 AM
  • Wednesday, November 14 at 11:55AM- service was restored at 12:17 AM
  • Thursday, November 15 at 11:16AM- service was restored at 11:21 AM
  • Friday, November 16 at 11:17AM- service was restored at 11:22 AM

Because Banner is a shared system with other University functions, Banner Finance, Human Resources (HR), Advancement and Accounts Receivable (AR) were also impacted by these reboots of the system.

Information Technology Services also had to reboot the myNEU portal on November 15 at 10:20 AM which may have resulted in some disruption and users experienced full downtime from 11:00 AM to 11:10 AM.

The Degree Audit System (DARS or myPaws) experienced slowed performance but did not become unavailable this week.

What impact did the disruptions have on students and advisors?

During the start of each time ticket window (8AM, 11AM, 2PM), students may have experienced slow response times from the system.  When the volumes hit a peak, IS had to reboot the Banner system which would bring down the registration system and disrupt any students who were in the process of registering.  Once the system was restored, we saw students were immediately able to get back in and complete their registrations.

Why did these issues occur?

As of 11/19/2012, Information Technology Services is still pursuing the root cause with our vendors, Oracle and Ellucian.  We are investigating several possible reasons for these issues including database locking and competing job submissions.  We have determined that this is not a server hardware resource issue (server or database size).

Throughout the week, IS monitored the registration process and made modifications to the system as registration progressed.  The updates included limiting job submission during peak time ticket periods, adding server resources, and proactively rebooting the system during low volume times.

Why wasn’t this prevented?

Information Technology Services performed load testing working with a 3rd party vendor before the start of registration.  This testing simulated the number of registrations we experienced during actual registration with limited problems.  Any issues discovered as part of this testing were resolved and IS felt confident that registration would be a success.  We were disappointed when these issues surfaced again during registration.

What is Information Technology Services doing to ensure this does not happen again?

IS has created an internal team that is dedicated to working this issue.  We have escalated these issues with our registration system and database vendors.  We are also diligently pulling together logs which can be used to analyze the events and for troubleshooting.  This team will continue to meet regularly as a top priority for resolving these issues in time for spring registration.  We are committed to providing updates every 2 weeks on this site so we can be transparent with our Northeastern Community on the status of these problems and so you can hold us accountable for progress made.

Who do I contact if I have questions about the status of my registration?

You can verify your registration by going to the myNEU portal and viewing “my Schedule”.  You may also contact the Registrar Office at 617-373-2300 or registrar@neu.edu.

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