Project title: UCLA URSA2 – Java Re-write Submitter’s name, title, and contact information Candace Jones Project Manager, Admissions and Distributed Technologies UCLA, Administrative Information Systems (310) 206-1621 firstname.lastname@example.org Names of project leader(s) and team members Project Manager: Edith Celestine, Director of Student Applications Project Lead: Sultan Jinnah Project Team: Sultan Jinnah, Norma Morelock, Mark Stejskal, Viral Shah, Bhaumik Patel, Jyothi Rudraraju, and Candace Jones A summary paragraph that highlights the significance of the project (about 100 words) University Records System Access (URSA) is a web based system for students to easily access and update their academic and personal information. URSA was first made available in August 1996, and in February 2002 another major renovation was released. As new technologies become available, old technologies become obsolete, and those utilized by the URSA application as of 2007 were ready for retirement given MicroSoft’s removal of support for Visual Basic /COM. AIS management requested the Distributed Technologies team, responsible for the support of URSA and also Shared Web Services, renovate both as Java applications. This project positively impacted UCLA’s ability to serve students by improving application availability, performance and overall online student services. A project description (not to exceed 5 pages), including relevant URLs URL: https://www.ursa.ucla.edu Project description: University Records System Access (URSA) is a web based system for students to more easily access and update their academic and personal information. URSA was first made available in August 1996 and in February 2002 a major renovation was released. This major enhancement in 2002 brought URSA current with the business needs, technologies, and usage interfaces of that time-period. There is an ever-increasing demand for information access through the internet, and in response, leading IT companies have reacted by rapidly deploying more robust products to meet these demands. As new technologies become available, old technologies become obsolete, and those utilized by the URSA system in 2007 were ready for retirement. AIS management requested the Distributed Technologies project team, currently responsible for the support of URSA (the website and its components) and also the Shared Web Services, renovate both as Java applications. A driving factor in leading the Java conversion was Microsoft’s elimination of support of VB / COM and the production support issues related to the unsupported technology. The department believed the conversion to Java technologies would provide a robust technology framework highly compatible with other universities and create the foundation for a student portal that integrated with other UC campuses. The technology utilized in the project The project team gave serious consideration to a variety of technologies and AIS’ decision was to move toward JAVA. The following tools / infrastructure were approved: 1. IIS – serve as presentation layer web server (phase one – until presentation layer could be re-written) 2. Webshere Application Server (cluster) – serve as Java web service layer 3. IBM HTTP server powered by Apache 4. CICS transaction gateway (CTG) – serve as gateway to mainframe 5. SQL Server database – serve as database for application auditing and other housekeeping items 6. Integrated Development Environment (IDE) - IBM’s Rational Application Developer (RAD) 7. JAX-RPC - for Web services interoperability 8. Message Driven Beans (MDB) 9. Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) 10. Java Message Service (JMS) The timeframe of implementation: URSA2 project commenced in the summer of 2007 and went to production October 24, 2009 Objective customer satisfaction data (not to exceed 2 pages) The technology used to re-write the business service layer into Java web services provided significant value add to the UCLA student population by improving performance, adding new web services for departments, adding additional URSA functionality and extending hours of availability Improving performance: One great example of improved performance during this project was on a function in URSA called Find a Class. This function previously called a mainframe program to deliver opened/closed class list information to students in URSA. This function was completely re- written to make DB2 calls via Java web services. The improvement in performance was substantial – previously a 2-3 second wait time, is now milliseconds. URSA1 / URSA MAINFRAME TOTAL MAINFRAME MAINFRAME URSA2 SERVER REGION RESP TIME RESP TIME CPU TIME NAME (mm:ss.000) (ss.000) URSA1 A10UT1 TSOASIS 2.6718 0.0910 0.0580 URSA2 U2TWA1 DB2U 0.7812 0.1200 0.0600 New Java web services: Many UCLA departments rely heavily on data from the various mainframe applications. One important role that the Distributed Technologies team serves is to provide access to mainframe data via web services. The new Java web sercvices provide new data objects that can be leveraged for use by other departments and possibly other campuses. Currently there are over 30 web services since the launch of URSA2 used by various UCLA departments including the Registrar’s area, Summer Sessions, and the College of Letters and Sciences. Adding functionality: (first Java function in production October 2008) The BruinAlert implementation was a project that had extreme importance, in light of the Virginia Tech tragedy, in enabling the University to communicate emergency warnings and advisories to students and the campus community. The University struggled to get students to sign-up with their emergency contact information and needed a way to increase visibility to the project. The BruinAlert project accomplished this goal and was the first URSA feature to leverage the new Java technology which is versatile, efficient, platform independent, and secure. Within a few months of go-live, the BruinAlert Java functioned increased student emergency sign-ups: Total Student Sign-up: 14,536 Pre-URSA Java implementation 18,853 Post-URSA Java implementation Net increase: 4,317 Extending hours of URSA availability: The first phase of UCLA’s ability to increase hours of availability was to allow access to all URSA functions that rely solely on DB2. In the past, URSA was an all or nothing web application that was dependent on the mainframe batch processing window. As part of the Java conversion, UCLA was able to allow student’s access to URSA 24 hours a day for all view functions such as viewing grades, class lists, schedule of classes, viewing addresses etc…. This access went into production in December of 2009 and is well received by the student population. Summary: Overall, the success of the URSA2 Java business service layer re-write has enabled the department to provide a robust technology infrastructure that is highly reliable, performs well, and increases value to the entire UCLA student population and the areas that support student services. The transition to Java has positioned the department well for future initiatives at UCLA to improve student services. These future phases include a re-write of the presentation layer of the URSA application into JSP, providing new web services for new functionality, and continued enhancements of existing web services. The URSA2 project has successfully improved performance, provided new web services to the campus, added new functionality, and extended hours of availability for the URSA application. The department looks forward to future collaboration between UCLA departments and other UC campuses.
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