Bringing Blackboard Vista 8 into the Oracle 11g world..

Just a few notes, probably only of significance to myself, of the work involved when the technology around a software changes even as that software is being brought to an end of life…

Blackboard’s CE and Vista product is scheduled to be de-supported in January of 2013. Notre Dame will continue to run it as we come along side it with another system and move our Faculty and Students to it.

  • Meanwhile Oracle has de-supported (as of June 2010) its database software version Oracle 10g, on which many institutions have been running their Bb Vista databases.
  • Meanwhile Oracle has acquired Java and issued Update 29 of Java 6 (available for PCs Oct 10th and for Mac 10.6.8 and Mac 10.7.1 shortly thereafter) with which Bb Vista 8 doesn’t play well.
  • Meanwhile Oracle 11g is being deployed as a database cluster – RAC, that is, a feature some of this older software wouldn’t have dreamed of.

This just makes keeping the old girl running that much more of an effort.

This week here at Notre Dame we validated our Bb Vista 8 Dev environment to service pack 6 (SP6) on our Oracle 11g RAC database farm. Here were our tests:

Test Result
NDCustom copy content tool (uses siapi) perl, cron, DB link to Banner, permissions, UI display: all looks good
Created supersections with our NDcustom job (uses siapi) Same as above. Passed.
Took a quiz while stopping the database on one node (no failover). System Exception error. Session remained open. Saved answers were saved. When database ‘returned’ saves continued. Repeated logged messages as app tried to reconnect to the database. Passed
Took a quiz while gracefully failing over database nodes. No system exception error. Session remained open. Everything saved correctly. Only indication the db node had failed over was watching the netstat –a close connections on 1 db and open on another node, also saw 1 unpinned connection error in the logs. RAC works!
JMS real-time messaging server failover Still fails. Same behavior as always. Recommend Weblogic setting to leave Target set to a single non-migratable node.
Background Jobs: Garbage Collection. Deleted hundreds of courses. Checked timing & completion. No essential change in performance. GC completes & took over an hour. Our live system job  averages 2 hrs nightly on 10g to complete. We now anticipate the same on 11g.
Background Jobs: Content Index Search No essential change between 10g and 11g. Works. Passes.
Background Jobs: Tracking Event No essential change between 10g and 11g. Works. Passes.