PCUG Discuss – PowerCampus Upgrade Round Table

The PowerCampus Users Group will be hosting our next PCUG Discuss online gathering on Wednesday, July 22nd at 2pm Eastern Time. Join our presenter David Bazan for a discussion of PowerCampus upgrade topics including:

  • How often should you upgrade?
  • Upgrade Paths
  • Best Practices
  • Self-Service Considerations
  • Common mistakes

Participants will be encouraged to ask questions and discuss your experiences in the live chat. Tune in to join us and learn more:


If you plan to attend this event or have any upgrade questions you would like discussed, please email David Bazan.

RSVP by voting below so we know how many participants to expect:

UPDATE – The chat transcript is below:
David Bazan: (7/22/2015 12:56) Is there a phone number to call as an alternative?
Adrian Smith: (13:04) Can you publish the results?
Adrian Smith: (13:04) Not yet
Scott Grabus: (13:04) we can’t see results
Adrian Smith: (13:04) There are the results. Thanks
Mark Alessi: (13:04) Houghton just updated to 8.6.0 about a month ago, so marked A.
Adrian Smith: (13:05) Mark, have you been happy at 8.6.0?
Aaron Kryger: (13:06) is 8.6.2 out?
Adrian Smith: (13:06) Bruce, can you activate the results on the last upgrade poll?
Mark Alessi: (13:06) can’t see results for second poll.
Mark Alessi: (13:09) Don’t have a mic – we needed to upgrade because our prio version became unsupported.
Bryan@NMMI: (13:09) I heard some 8.6.1 hotfixes for the data entry issues should be out this week or next
Barbara Williams: (13:09) We look for important defect corrections
Bryan@NMMI: (13:10) try to upgrade yearly if we need it or not
Monette Myers: (13:10) We are upgrading this weekend because we needed the Gainful Employment federal mandates
Mark Alessi: (13:10) That’s what we did – 7.4.3 to 8.6.0
Barbara Williams: (13:10) We’ve upgrade a lot this past year because of NSC reporting.
Louise Gabel: (13:11) Prefer to keep somewhat up to date and not fall too far behind.
Adrian Smith: (13:11) We attempt to upgrade once a year to remain somewhat current on releases.
Bryan@NMMI: (13:11) 8.6.1 vs 8.6.0 due to Integrated Security, quick decision that should have been tested better
Monette Myers: (13:11) no mike, or I’d talk
Mark Alessi: (13:12) We don’t have time to put updates on that we don’t need.
NCMC: (13:12) We are running 8.5.4 but plan to test 8.6.2 once release. If all test well we will upgrade to fix the FT/PT Status and PowerFaids Class load issue.
Adrian Smith: (13:12) You may activate your mic at the top of the screen.
Bruce Mathew – Western Technical College: (13:12) We had to figure in all our versions of other apps to coordinate.
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:14) We went from 7.4.1 to in one big upgrade. It took a day and a lot of prep, but it is doable.
Tim Ogawa: (13:15) possible concerns – GP integration changes, payment gateway
Louise Gabel: (13:16) Typically I try to upgrade on university holidays spring, fall and winter but with ever-increasing demands and the recent buggy versions we may not be upgrading as frequently in the near future.
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:16) 8.0 had the new nvarchar schema
Louise Gabel: (13:17) I think it may have been 8.4
NCMC: (13:17) I think that was 8.5
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:17) 8.4 has the big vista view conversion, it also requires sql 2008 which is why [STOPLIST] becomes a reserved word
Mark Alessi: (13:17) If you’re asking if anyone did that, we went from 7.4.3 to 8.6.0, but we don’s use Admission or Alumni portions of PC.
Louise Gabel: (13:18) We haven’t yet made that switch for that reason.
Adrian Smith: (13:18) The integration services change has been very slowly adopted at various schools.
Adrian Smith: (13:19) MCNY is also still on the standalone import utilities
Aaron Kryger: (13:19) yeah, Integration Services is another thing to deal with during upgrades
Scott Grabus: (13:19) The powershell scripts are not difficult to edit. They are pretty well commented, but you may need to make some minor changes. Anyone with programming experience could make the edits.
Adrian Smith: (13:19) We are close to going live with Integration Services
Barbara Williams: (13:19) The help document is pretty straight forward and there are webinars about how to set up the Powershell. I set them up and I’m not a programmer.
Wei: (13:19) what data issue do you have in v8.6.1? Thanks!
Louise Gabel: (13:20) We are pretty well versed in SQL but do not have any programmers on staff.
Aaron Kryger: (13:20) we only have one SQL person, me. I also handle the application, but not Self Service
Scott Grabus: (13:20) w3schools.com has a good SQL tutorial
Trevor Brent: (13:20) Cornell College has a SQL person
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:20) You can’t rely on VistaViews
Adrian Smith: (13:20) Good point Scott
Aaron Kryger: (13:20) we technically don’t have any programmers
john jaffry: (13:21) We have 2 SQL programmers on staff
Robert Winkley: (13:21) Don’t have a mic
Robert Winkley: (13:21) Was just agreeing
Vicki Hoskovec: (13:21) We do not have any actual programmers, but we do have 2 people with SQL knowledge.
Dave Bernat: (13:21) yes, all three of us in the admin department know sql
Chad Strunk: (13:22) (No mic) My analyst and I know SQL. I consider it a core skill for us.
Tim Ogawa: (13:22) SQL programmer is necessary for advanced programming
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:22) Has anyone tried running Windows Server 2012 R2 with PowerCAMPUS 8.6?
Tim Ogawa: (13:22) I meant advanced reports
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:23) Thankfully you can make the [STOPLIST] updates before you do the upgrade
Louise Gabel: (13:23) You don’t have to address the join/stoplist issue as of 8.4 but as of this version you can. We ran the conversion utility and upgraded to SQL 2008 while on PC 8.5.3
Mark Alessi: (13:23) I am the tech support
Mark Alessi: (13:23) and I took care of the stop lists
Trevor Brent: (13:23) We went from 7.41 to 8.5.2
Trevor Brent: (13:23) 7.4.1 > 8.0.3 > 8.3 > 8.3.1 > 8.3.2 > 8.3.3 > 8.3.4 >8.4 > 8.5 > 8.5.1 > 8.5.2
Adrian Smith: (13:23) Nice upgrade path Trevor!
Aaron Kryger: (13:24) PowerShell is not a good end-user tool
Mark Alessi: (13:24) There weren’t many vista views that needed attention, but we had begun addressing this over a year ago in anticipation.
Louise Gabel: (13:24) PowerShell
Louise Gabel: (13:24) No programmers.
Louise Gabel: (13:24) Does that answer your question?
Adrian Smith: (13:27) Where did they move the documentation????
NCMC: (13:27) They moved documentation to Ellucian Support
Bryan@NMMI: (13:28) the data entry issues are the code fields partial filled don’t auto-fill as they have in the past
Mark Alessi: (13:28) The PowerCAMPUS eCommunities discussion “8.6.0 Anyone there yet?” addresses several issues that schools dealt with in upgrading (to 8.6).
Louise Gabel: (13:29) We don’t have custom transcript so I can’t speak to this.
Mark Alessi: (13:29) We don’t purchase any customizations or upgrade support from Ellucian.
Adrian Smith: (13:29) We have stuck with only modifying the transcript via Magic Easel.
Mark Alessi: (13:30) Can you repeat the question, please?
Josh: (13:30) took about 2.5 months and costs around $90k for customizations
Louise Gabel: (13:30) Yikes!
Adrian Smith: (13:30) Wow Josh… what type of customizations!
Adrian Smith: (13:30) Did it print 20 dollar bills for you?
Aaron Kryger: (13:31) it printed money for Ellucian
Mark Alessi: (13:31) Much depends on how portions of PowerCAMPUS have been implemented by your institution. See the eCommunities discussion I mentioned previously.
Tim Ogawa: (13:31) We had to get our custom transcript redone in anticipation of moving past 8.3.2. it cost a bit over 2K
Adrian Smith: (13:31) Yes…
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:31) $90K just for the transcript customization?
Adrian Smith: (13:31) That is helpful.
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:32) They gave us a quote of $10K just for the transcript customization
Aaron Kryger: (13:32) and Ellucian wonders why people don’t ungrade frequently
Josh: (13:32) We have 20 powerCampus client customizations in powerbuilder and 4 self service
Trevor Brent: (13:33) No Mic, yes it was all done in one night
Mark Alessi: (13:33) We did our upgrade in one day, but it took 3 or 4 PC upgrades, and 4 or 5 self-service upgrdes.
Wyatt Best: (13:33) According to the eCommunities thread, the data entry bug should have been patched by now. CR-000131012
landmark: (13:33) We are at v8.3.2. How much of a time commitment is the vista conversion?
Adrian Smith: (13:33) Josh, what type of client customizations did you decide were needed?
landmark: (13:34) Should we go to the latest version in order to meet the requirements of GP2013? Is the latest version compatible with GP2015?
Louise Gabel: (13:34) Vista conversion is not lengthy. Longest component is running the conversion in test and then fixing or deleting the views that don’t convert. We ran several test passes before running the conversion in live.
Adrian Smith: (13:34) Ditto with Louise. A couple of reviews in test. Live upgrade went easily.
Tim Ogawa: (13:35) the transcript customization was billed hourly so I assume it can vary widely depending on what you need done
Jacquie: (13:35) Are there any known issues running PC 8.6 on Windows Server 2012?
NCMC: (13:35) Landmark – The latest version GP2015 R2 is scheduled to explore compatibility in Q4 of 2015.
Louise Gabel: (13:35) The biggest “gotcha” with setting the compatibility flag was that we neglected to closely review our sql reports and then after the fact needed to put Stoplist in [] after setting the compatiibility flag.
Josh: (13:36) A lot of our customizations are for state reporting requirements and extra data that we need to track
NCMC: (13:36) we are running 8.5.4 in Server 2012.
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:37) Are you on 2012R2 though? I can’t get Ellucian support to say that they support R2, only basic 2012
Mark Alessi: (13:37) I think I may have a mic set up now, but we found data problems concerning class level not being updated accurately due to a defect and the way we were using (or not using) the Transfer Policy.
Josh: (13:37) We were not able to install the powerCampus client on 2012 server
NCMC: (13:37) We are not running R2
Wei: (13:38) My testing is running on R2
landmark: (13:38) thanks for the responses
Louise Gabel: (13:38) Is 8.6.1 viable/stable?
Mark Alessi: (13:38) Still running SQL 2008 R2
Mark Alessi: (13:40) Does the $90K only include PowerCAMPUS, and not other products such as Great Plains or PowerFAIDS?
Louise Gabel: (13:40) Thanks for the info. Definitely waiting. Earliest woudl be October.
Aaron Kryger: (13:41) the past few upgrades I have been able to automate with SSIS
Louise Gabel: (13:42) Generally prep for an upgrade takes about a month. We typically don’t have a huge jump between releases.
Bruce Mathew – Western Technical College: (13:42) Mark – we do our own PowerFAIDs upgrades, so no additional help there.. Great Plains is in negotiation, but it’s not in the customizations costs either.
Mark Alessi: (13:42) I usaully spend 2-4 weeks researching and preparing over the course of 2-3 months.
Aaron Kryger: (13:42) in SSIS I can invoke executables
NCMC: (13:42) We take a couple weeks to review the documentation, search ellucian support and ecommunities for defects, and update our test environment. We then give power users 2-3 weeks to test.
Aaron Kryger: (13:43) so I just chain all the BAT files together in SQL Server Integration Services, plus any SQL I need for cleaning things up
NCMC: (13:43) We have cloned our PowerCampus, Self-Service, GP, PowerFAIDS to use as our test environment so we are able to test ALL integrations before upgrading.
Aaron Kryger: (13:44) Self Service is the big time sink for upgrades. We generally will install a fresh version of Self Service and get our custimizations into that
NCMC: (13:45) Yes, we test patches and hotfixes as well as major version changes. It may not take a month + if just testing a patch.
Scott Grabus: (13:45) Aaron, we do the same
Barbara Williams: (13:45) we do the same as Aaron.
landmark: (13:45) Same here – Self Service
Trevor Brent: (13:46) Same here
Wei: (13:46) the documentation is so unclear that we often had to take this way – get a new installation and move customizatin over as well
Louise Gabel: (13:46) Supposedly going forward SS upgrades don’t wipe out all customizations. We saw an improvement with this as of our 8.5.3 upgrade.
Aaron Kryger: (13:46) besides that is a good time to review to see if some of the customizations are still needed, or if they have been added by Ellucian
Adrian Smith @ MCNY: (13:46) With the fresh install for Self-Service, are you swapping virtual servers when it is time to go live?
Aaron Kryger: (13:47) with upgrades we generally also try to move to a new database server. This allows us to have the new version up on the new server, which the new version of Self Service can be pointing to
Barbara Williams: (13:48) Again, same as Aaron for us.
Adrian Smith @ MCNY: (13:48) DNS changes during the upgrade, or change the ip of Self-Service?
Mark Alessi: (13:48) This past upgrade to 8.6.0 was the first time we tried a fresh install of SSS, but we just wiped out the current server installation, re-installed the new version, then copied over the web site files from our test server.
Trevor Brent: (13:48) We bring up a new vitual Self Service server each time
Aaron Kryger: (13:49) Adrian, I think we do a DNS change, but I’m not that involved on the Self Service side
Adrian Smith @ MCNY: (13:51) Best Practice: Plan to upgrade once a year if at all possible.
landmark: (13:51) we typically go with a new self-service server and upgrade the database in place. we have a test db instance which the new self-service points to. When we cutover, the self-service is brought online and pointed to the production server.
Aaron Kryger: (13:52) do most of you have a test Self Service site?
Mark Alessi: (13:52) Previously, we had only upgraded every two years, but this doesn’t work now since the supported life of PC versions is less than two years. We may try once a year, also.
landmark: (13:52) yes
Trevor Brent: (13:52) We have a test Self Service site
Scott Grabus: (13:52) yes
Adrian Smith @ MCNY: (13:53) Yes, we have a test Self Service!
Bryan@NMMI: (13:53) we copy our SS site and point it to Campus6_TEST, works well
Mark Alessi: (13:53) Definitely, we have a SS test system, as well as of all othersystems.
Adrian Smith @ MCNY: (13:53) We also point ours to a ‘testing’ database
Mark Alessi: (13:53) Same as Brayn@NMMI
Josh: (13:53) We have multiple self-service test sites. test, dev, copy of production and production
Adrian Smith @ MCNY: (13:54) Josh, what is the purpose of the “Copy of production”?
Scott Grabus: (13:54) http://nsis.sourceforge.net/
Aaron Kryger: (13:54) we push the client install out through AD Group Policy
Mark Alessi: (13:54) Excellent info. on NullSoft. Thanks.
Louise Gabel: (13:54) Do any others use Citrix as a mechanism for users to access the app?
Josh: (13:55) It points to a daily automated backup and restore of production for testing against live data
Wyatt Best: (13:55) Louise, we also use Citrix for users.
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:55) Our Nullsoft installation is a bit tricky because we actually run 2 installations of PowerCAMPUS on the same desktops. Nullsoft can do the uninstall prior to doing the install
Mark Alessi: (13:55) I thought I read in the 8.6.0 manual that Citrix is not supported by Ellucian?
Bryan@NMMI: (13:55) We do a full install with screenshots, then send out the instructions. non-Admins and deep-freeze machines, we do
Louise Gabel: (13:56) Regarding Citrix: You are correct that technically Ellucian doesn’t support it, but it works well for us. We’ve used Citrix since Day1 of using PowerCampus suite.
Adrian Smith @ MCNY: (13:56) Critix is not supported, but they will help you unless they think the issue is related to Citrix (icon issue for some clients).
Trevor Brent: (13:56) We setup a Microsoft RemoteApp for PowerCAMPUS
landmark: (13:56) @Louise – we have Citrix for using the app from off-campus. Not for using the app as the primary client app.
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:57) I’ve shoehorned 2 different versions of PowerCAMPUS onto computers using NullSoft for testing purposes, but it got a bit messy in the Nullsoft setup.
Josh: (13:57) How does everyone deploy the new version of the powerCampus client. We have 180 clients and it takes a long time to install on each
Bryan@NMMI: (13:58) details Trevor, how do I start learning about M$ RemoteApp?
Scott Grabus: (13:58) NullSoft
Arcadia_Tyler: (13:58) NullSoft. It is a single .exe that the user runs themselves. The only trick is that PowerCAMPUS doesn’t install properly unless they’re an admin on the computer
Dave Bernat: (13:59) we put executable on shared drive then e-mail all users upgrade instructions
landmark: (13:59) Clients install their own from directions. Then support will make a pass at those that need assistance.
Mark Alessi: (13:59) Ditto to Dave Bernat
Aaron Kryger: (13:59) so that’s another question, do users have rights to install things themselves
Dave Bernat: (13:59) our users have admin rights on their own machines
Trevor Brent: (13:59) Bryan it’s part of Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server
landmark: (13:59) ditto Dave
Josh: (13:59) We have also emailed users a link in the past
Mark Alessi: (14:00) Yes, we make users administrators so they CAN install software themselves.
Adrian Smith @ MCNY: (14:00) Sure, post it to powercampususersgroup.org
Adrian Smith @ MCNY: (14:00) Thank you David!
Louise Gabel: (14:00) Thank you!
Aaron Kryger: (14:01) thanks everyone
Robert Winkley: (14:01) Thanks!
Trevor Brent: (14:01) Thank you
Monette Myers: (14:01) thanks
Bryan@NMMI: (14:01) thanks
Dave Bernat: (14:01) thanks
landmark: (14:01) Thanks
trina: (14:01) thanks
Michael: (14:01) THANK YOU
Barbara Williams: (14:01) thanks!


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