University of Idaho DBA Services

University of Idaho DBA Services

Fractional DBA, Managed Database Patching

The University of Idaho, established in 1889, is a distinguished public research university located in Moscow, Idaho. Renowned for its strong emphasis on research, innovation, and student-centered education, it offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees across various disciplines. With its picturesque campus in the rolling hills of the Palouse region, the university provides a vibrant and supportive learning environment. It's particularly noted for its programs in agriculture, engineering, and natural resources, reflecting Idaho's rich geographical and cultural heritage. The university's commitment to practical learning, community engagement, and the advancement of knowledge contributes significantly to its reputation as a leader in higher education in the Pacific Northwest.


The Challenge


Since the 1990s, the University of Idaho (UI) has successfully utilized the Ellucian Banner Student Information System (SIS), demonstrating the software's robustness and reliability. In a significant technological advancement, the university transitioned its SIS to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure in 2020, an initiative undertaken with the expertise of Astute Business Solutions. This transition underscored UI's commitment to modernizing and enhancing its data management systems.

UI's proficiency in managing this complex system was largely attributed to its strong, experienced database administrator (DBA) team. However, the team faced a setback last year when one of its two DBAs retired. This departure left the university with a single DBA to manage the increasingly demanding SIS workload. Despite concerted efforts, recruiting an additional DBA in the Moscow, Idaho area proved challenging, exacerbating the situation.

The university's growth has only increased the demands on the SIS, requiring extensive work in system cloning, tuning, and patching — tasks that are overwhelming for a single DBA. This situation not only places immense pressure on the remaining DBA but also poses a significant risk, as the entire system's management hinges on one individual. Additionally, UI has encountered challenges in applying database patches in a timely manner. This issue is critical because timely patching is essential for maintaining system security, performance, and compliance. The combination of a stretched DBA team and patching delays represents a notable concern for the university's information system infrastructure, underscoring the need for additional resources and expertise in database administration.


The Solution

Strategic Partnership and Support: Astute Business Solutions' Comprehensive Database Services for University of Idaho

    Recognizing the need for expert assistance in managing its database challenges, the University of Idaho (UI) approached Astute Business Solutions, a trusted partner, to explore potential support services. Astute's proposed solution is a comprehensive service package designed to address UI's pressing needs. Central to this solution is the commitment to perform quarterly patching of all databases, ensuring they remain up-to-date and secure. Additionally, the service includes immediate attention to any critical patches as they are released, thus maintaining the integrity and performance of the databases. Beyond these essential maintenance tasks, Astute's proposal also allocates a set number of hours each month for additional database-related tasks, to be directed by UI. This flexible arrangement is intended not only to provide backup support to the UI's lone DBA during their leave periods but also to augment the university's capacity for handling various database projects. This proactive and tailored approach by Astute Business Solutions aims to alleviate the current strain on UI's database administration and enhance the overall efficiency and reliability of their systems.

    Astute’s Services

    Database Patching Service

    Astute's Database Patching Service is a specialized offering that focuses on the critical task of keeping database systems up-to-date and secure. This service is designed to manage and implement regular updates to database software, addressing vulnerabilities and ensuring compliance with the latest standards and practices.

    The core of this service is the timely application of patches. Astute's team closely monitors the release of new patches from database vendors, evaluating their relevance and impact on the client's systems. This vigilant approach ensures that any critical updates are identified and applied promptly, minimizing the risk of security breaches and system inefficiencies.

    In addition to emergency patches, the service includes scheduled updates, typically performed on a quarterly basis. This regular maintenance cycle allows for a controlled and predictable update process, reducing potential disruptions to the organization's operations. Astute's experts handle all aspects of the patching process, from initial assessment to testing and deployment, ensuring a smooth and efficient implementation.

    Astute's Database Patching Service also emphasizes communication and collaboration with clients. They provide detailed reports and insights on each patching activity, ensuring transparency and allowing clients to understand the changes made to their database environment.

    Overall, Astute's Database Patching Service offers a comprehensive, efficient, and secure approach to database maintenance, helping organizations to maintain the integrity and performance of their database systems without the need to invest in specialized internal resources.

    Results Delivered

    The partnership between the University of Idaho (UI) and Astute Business Solutions has delivered impressive results, particularly in the realm of database management. A primary achievement is the consistent and regular patching of all databases, strictly according to vendor specifications. This diligent maintenance ensures each database is up-to-date, secure, and performing optimally.

    Moreover, the establishment of Disaster Recovery (DR) databases, utilizing Oracle Active Data Guard, marks a significant stride in data security and system reliability. This setup ensures that the university's critical data is continuously replicated and safeguarded, providing a robust fail-safe against potential data loss or system downtimes.

    Crucially, Astute's implementation of fractional DBA services has provided UI with a significant enhancement in database administration. This service model offers the university access to a team of experienced DBAs on an as-needed basis, effectively filling the gap left by the recent retirement of one of their in-house DBAs. This approach not only brings in additional expertise and support but also introduces role redundancy, ensuring that the responsibilities and workload are well-distributed and managed efficiently. This strategic deployment of resources has enabled the UI DBA team to maintain high standards of database management and operation, despite the challenges of limited in-house staffing.

    Overall, these results highlight the effectiveness of Astute's tailored database solutions in elevating the operational efficiency and security of UI's database systems, demonstrating the significant value of fractional DBA services in a resource-constrained environment.

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