BbWorld: Best Practices in Vista System Application

Rob McDole, Vista sys admin for West Virginia tells us to be pushy if we go to “ManagedHosting” -quite an introduction to a session on best practices in sys administration… Why is he asking if any of us are considering going to ManagedHosting?

So, I asked.

“Curious,” he says, “Just curious.”

He’s a Sys Admin just like us, but his system is Managed. He says we need to be ‘pushy’ because Managed Hosting does its best to give you what you ask for, but you have to ask for what you need.

Blackboard Managed Hosting is doing their integration for them with ‘Genzibar?” (he says it’s the frankenstein of SISs).

Rob asks for a handshow of how many of us are Admins who are not DBAs but who are the DBA for our system. I raised my hand. I’m at least a “Go get the real DBA’s attention” DBA. The early warning sign.


  • Dial-up speeds can be helped by a patch by BEA which affects caching of the applet librarylbj.js (might not be correct name)  which doesn’t cache properly without it. This will be included now in Vista 8 SP1. This can help dial-up.
  • Speeds can also be helped by turning on compression on ones load balancer (compression in hardware, better) or by turning it on in Weblogic (off by default, compression in software, not so good).
  • Backup solutions?
  • Back to ManagedHosting. It seems that the driver for many institutions in considering the ASP model is the lack of Oracle DBAs. Institutions are having a hard time attracting, hiring and retaining qualified people to manage their Bb databases and their SIS databases. It is, in many cases, boiling down to the kinds of salaries they can command and the subpar salaries offered to them by higher ed.
  • Reporting. Rob McDole tells us he can ask for any kind of report. It’s baked into the contract.
  • Rob McDole reports Blackboard hosts on SQL so they did not do a database conversion but that he did backups of his courses (on Oracle) and hand carried them to the ManagedHost site to begin their new site.

One thought on “BbWorld: Best Practices in Vista System Application

  1. I think the SIS he mentions might be “Jenzibar”, but that’s all I know about it.
    I don’t know whether Blackboard also hosts on Windows and SQL Server, but from what I understand our hosted system is running on Linux and Oracle (on Dell and NetApp). To migrate we FedEx’d them an Oracle export on a hard drive.

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