Weekend Banner outage planned for conversion of student records

Kristine Gill

Banner, the new software running FlashLine, will be shut down at 9 p.m. today. The outage will allow administrators to move accounts receivable data to the new system.

Accounts receivable data includes all tuition, housing, food plan, parking permit and health center charges on a student’s account, said Barbara Boltz, project director for Networking and Administration.

Boltz said 4.5 million records for students from Kent State and its regional campuses will be converted.

“One program that does a lot of the number crunching and behind-the-scenes accounting takes about 12 hours to run on 4.5 million records,” Boltz said. “When we talk about money, we have to make sure everything is reconciled before Banner can go back up.”

Roberta Sikula-Schwalm, executive director of Enterprise Research Planning, said the entire process is estimated to take 27 hours. She said a system crash during data transfer could create problems for a student in the middle of an online transaction. Taking the system down, she said, is a preventative measure.

The outage was originally scheduled to last from midnight tonight to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Sikula-Schwalm said the shutdown will begin sooner to allow for any possible delays.

“We’re sending bills out around December 6 so it has to come up this weekend,”Sikula-Schwalm said. “There’s never a good time to bring a system down, but the weekends are less busy.”

Boltz said she does not anticipate any problems with the project.

“There’s always a possibility. We’ve practiced this about eight times now, but let’s say when we do it for real it doesn’t balance,” she said. “We can’t move forward from that path and that would be the only reason for a delay.”

Sikula-Schwalm said students should not expect another outage until March when financial aid data will move to Banner.

Once Banner is running again Sunday, students will be able to pay their bills as usual. Boltz said a slight alteration in the site’s setup will be the only change for students.

“(The site) will look a little different, but dollars are dollars any way you look at it,” Boltz said.

Contact student affairs reporter Kristine Gill at [email protected].