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University of California Santa Barbara Modernizes Student Information System

The University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) has completed a strategic modernization initiative of its student information system (SIS). The university's existing SIS was a mainframe system running a Software AG ADABAS database in a Natural application environment with Entire X Broker middleware. The project involved converting the legacy system to the Microsoft .NET framework and a SQL Server database.

"UCSB needed a solution that allowed them to retain the proven functionality of their existing system while modernizing the look and feel," said Scott Miller, president and CEO of Ateras, the company that migrated the system. "It was also important to enable UCSB to leverage cost efficient new technologies, while eliminating the mainframe and vendor license fees."

Ateras used its own rapid program modernization solution, eavRPM, to change the green screen user interface of the core applications to a browser-based interface that uses ASP.NET Web forms. The company also used its DB-Shuttle migration solution to automatically convert the ADABAS database to SQL Server and batch-convert the Natural programs to the C# programming language, while retaining the existing logic and functionality of the Natural programs. The SIS modernization project didn't require any production code freezes. ATERAS used DB-Shuttle to import production code changes into the converted system periodically.

"The code and data conversion approach allowed us to preserve all business rules, exceptions, jobs, and interfaces that have been defined over three decades, while transforming the core information systems to the latest technologies," said Lubomir Bojilov , CTO and executive director of Student Information Systems & Technologies at UCSB, in a prepared statement. "This will allow us to step on a solid modern platform for designing and developing the next generation of applications, platforms, workflows, and data and analysis services."

The final migrated SIS is native to the Microsoft software stack and uses the features of ASP.NET, ADO.NET, C#, and object-oriented design. It contains no proprietary code and UCSB does not have to pay ongoing license fees to Ateras. The university's personnel can maintain the software in Microsoft Visual Studio and access the database using existing SQL Server tools.

The project was completed in two years and modernized 6,900 components, 1,460,000 lines of code, and 1,350,000 ADABAS database records.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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