U of T launches faster registration, future modernization

Support team for NGSIS Platform Modernization ProjectThe support team carefully monitors the system during the cutover (photo by Alex Dault)

After three years of intense preparation, the success of the Platform Modernization Project came down to one weekend. Led by Next Generation Student Information Services (NGSIS), the project involved converting over 2 million lines of code and replacing an aging server. The new platform will modernize U of T’s student information system for years to come.

From November 16 to 19, teams from Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI), Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS), and Information Security worked around the clock to ensure a smooth cutover to the new system.

Staff attend a pre-cutover planning meeting

The support team attends a pre-cutover planning meeting (photo by Sarosh Jamal)

“A project with a ‘hard’ cutover – meaning all-or-nothing – requires a talented and motivated cross-functional team,” says Frank Boshoff, senior manager, technical solutions and architecture with Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI). “The results speak for themselves. In a single weekend, ROSI changed from being a legacy mainframe application with roots in the mid-1970’s, to an Internet-savvy application with some modern smarts.”

In the future, 15,000 students will be able to use the system via ACORN simultaneously, versus the current 700. The new platform will also open up the potential for live integration with divisional systems, and ensure U of T stays at the forefront of technological innovation.

How did the team pull off such a large-scale project?

“A project of this size requires many talented resources, not only from EASI, but also from across Information Technology Services departments, and support from our user community has been phenomenal,” says Cathy Eberts, executive director of EASI. “Many of our divisional colleagues participated in the user acceptance testing and in implementing a number of new products.”

Core team group shot outside after cutover

The core team celebrates after the successful cutover (photo by Sarosh Jamal)

The next phase of the project will involve developing the Data Decision Support System, which will be a near real-time copy of the ROSI data. It will allow staff to perform operational and analytical reports more quickly during peak registration periods. ACORN will also perform faster for students as they no longer need to compete with administrative staff for processing power.

“Now we can begin to integrate ROSI with other systems, within ITS and the divisions, to better meet academic and administrative needs,” says Boshoff. “The Data Decision Support System is part of this process, offering improved security and helping staff to work more efficiently. We’re excited for the future!”

Thank you to all of our user acceptance testers, divisional users and the main project team who helped make this project a success.

Project team:

Hossein Aliabadi Gerry Lindo
Dharmesh Amalsadia Paul Littlefield
Diana Augustin Robert Liu
Diana Avon David Lock
Katie Babcock Mezba Mahtab
John Bassani Sinisa Markovic
Joe Bate Sue Mcglashan
Christine Beckermann Philip Millenaar
Donald Boere Evan Moir
Brenda Boshoff Wei-hua (Walter)Ni
Frank Boshoff Michael O’Cleirigh
Rod Branch Jose Parada
Cidalia Carreiro Andrey Pletnev
Kun Chai Dana Pogaceanu
Kim Chan Haroon Rafique
June Cheng Ted Sikorski
Magdelene Cheung Pete St Onge
Richard Chow Petru Sugar
Hung Chu Joanne Sukhai
Alex Dault Alex Tchakhamakhtchian
Paul Day Blair Thompson
Cris Diaconu Ken Tsang
Miki Harmath Luzinda Van Huyssteen
Matthew Hendrickson Parani Vinayagamoorthy
Titus Hsu Amanda Werkhaizer
Sarosh Jamal Gaye Wignall
Kelly Jay Laurel Williams
Sydney Jia Zoe Wong
Andre Kalamandeen Mike Wyers
Laura Klamot David Yin
Anton Kruger Bruce Zhu
Nicky Lai