Information Technology News
Note: This story may not be current. It is part of the IT News Archive, and exists as a historical document.
Heavy use of WebCT Vista for online courses at UH pushes the limits of the hardware used for the popular program. UH operates one of the largest WebCT Vista programs in the U.S. About 2,800 courses were supported with WebCT in fiscal year 2008.
To prepare for a future with more students and faculty using WebCT Vista to supplement the learning experience, IT implemented the Blackboard Vista software application on new SUN servers. This software upgrade to Blackboard Vista began as a pilot in the Spring 2009 semester.
Old and new systems will run in tandem during the pilot phase and the transition to the new system is expected to be complete by Spring 2010. Here’s a broader view into Blackboard Vista's future. UH is using Oracle RAC database technology for the Blackboard Vista application pilot running on Cool Threads SUN servers such as: T2000s, T5220s and T5240s. These servers have a smaller footprint and are more energy efficient.
Oracle RAC is a clustering technology which allows multiple servers to access a single database. This configuration permits the removal / repair of faulty server equipment or the addition of new server capacity without disrupting system operation. Better fault tolerance and load balancing enhances system availability and performance.
Those IT personnel working on the upgrade include Enterprise Systems employees Seema Aggarwal, database administrator; Yun Cui, application developer 3; Tuong Ho, application developer 4; Vickie Hyland, systems administrator 3; Alex Lin, technical services specialist 4; and Haseen Mazhar, director, Academic Systems. Georgette Michko, project manager at Educational Technology and University Outreach, is also serving on the upgrade team.