Our Current System
Our current programs are complex and written specifically for LSU. The applications have many point-to-point interfaces (ca. 1980s and 90s), which increase the complexity of support and increase the risk of breakage without changes.
There are currently more than 8300 distinct mainframe system to mainframe system integration points.
All mainframe software packages are 5+ years out of support, meaning the vendors won't even develop updates and patches for any flaws and issues that may be discovered. Also, LSU cannot take advantage of any new functionality that is introduced in subsequent releases/versions.
Upgrading mainframe software would be a huge and expensive undertaking. There are many components that interact so nearly all would need to be upgraded at once. To perform a “big bang” upgrade is almost worse than starting from scratch, because customizations must be retained. LSU does not employ enough systems programmers to perform the task themselves. Further, it is possible that some COBOL programs would require reengineering due to changes brought about by a software upgrade.
LSU’s hardware is also aging. In 2015, our disk subsystem was replaced because the vendor notified us it would no longer be supported. The processor was replaced in 2012, with a typical support life expectancy of 10 years. However, LSU’s tape subsystem was obtained in late 2008 and LSU has been notified of end-of-support for some elements. Out of support means that the vendor is not obliged to make any repairs, and perhaps unable to make repairs due to lack of trained personnel or available spare parts. Should that element fail and be unrepairable, LSU would be unable to create backups for disaster recovery, recall idle primary files that have been migrated to tape, or recover files from backups, and we would need to find a new data store for IMS and SMF log records.
Back-level software may also restrict our ability to deploy new hardware, including processors and peripherals (disk and tape subsystems), if the hardware implements mandatory features that require newer software levels.
Now is the time to Geaux Forward! A student system upgrade will provide the University with a new technology platform that will allow LSU to serve students from recruiting to graduation and beyond, while addressing the future challenges in higher education. The new system will connect the University and students, while enhancing the ability of LSU faculty and staff to perform their job.