Overview

For schools to be successful, in addition to having quality and experienced teachers, they need an up-to-date IT and ERP infrastructure to manage and support the success of their staff and students.

For a Maryland school system, upgrading its Lawson/Oracle ERP system for the first time in nearly three years was critical for continuing to manage and support its growing number of facilities, students, and staff. Surety Systems was called on to help prepare the organization’s infrastructure for this critical Lawson application and Oracle 11g databases upgrade.

 

Challenge

The school system consists of 53 elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as special and alternative education schools, with nearly 40,000 students and more than 5,000 teachers, administrators, and support staff.

Despite using the Lawson platform and Oracle applications for several years, the systems have become disparate and didn’t seamlessly share information. The HP system-based infrastructure needed a significant upgrade to be efficient, and prepare the school system for future growth and technology deployments.

Lawson/Oracle Upgrade: Challenge

The Surety consultant, who had 16 years of experience in Lawson System Administration, quickly audited and assessed the organization’s current platform capabilities and functionality, including all non-Lawson applications that needed to be integrated into the Oracle databases. The consultant’s experience included extensive work with Lawson security applications and Oracle 11g databases.

When I first looked at the school’s systems, their HP hardware needed to be significantly tuned and current parameters needed to be created before any of the upgrades could begin. We also needed to design, develop, and deploy an Oracle listener to allow diverse system protocols within the infrastructure to speak to the Oracle databases.

The Surety consultant

As part of the project, the Surety consultant configured and installed the latest Oracle Enterprise Manager, and created more than 15 large Lawson data files to integrate with the organization’s Oracle databases. Additional tasks included applying patches, tuning, Database Administration (DBA) tasks, such as managing databases and instances, creating standby/replica database options, and capacity planning.

The consultant also uncovered several security issues within the system configuration being used. For example, the organization’s Oracle application files were housed on the same server and disks as their business-critical data files. Should that server or disks crash, it could paralyze the entire county’s school system indefinitely.

 

Results

Within two weeks of the project start, the Surety consultant had audited, assessed, and implemented system fixes and upgrades that would help prepare the school system for an Oracle 11g upgrade and future infrastructure expansion.

Lawson/Oracle Upgrade: Solution

In addition, the consultant continues to assist the school system with ongoing platform training, delivering useful tips, strategic system recommendations, and tools to optimize and become more efficient on the Lawson platform.

The work that the Surety consultant performed will position the school system well for future growth. The project was completed in record time, well ahead of the original project plan.