An aerial view of the VCU Student Commons plaza

Banner outage starting Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. will affect many VCU systems

Planned systems outage will allow for migration of Banner to the cloud, helping to lower the risk of outages and improve operations.

Many tasks regularly performed by students, faculty and staff will be temporarily unavailable during VCU's migration of Banner and related online systems to the cloud. (University Marketing)
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Banner, the primary system used by Virginia Commonwealth University for student information, human resources information and financial information, will be temporarily unavailable starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, as part of a migration of Banner and related systems from VCU’s on-campus University Computer Center into the cloud.

During the outage, students will be unable to access transcripts or to view or pay bills, faculty members will be unable to enter grades, and employees will be unable to access pay stubs. Other services, such as purchase order processing and payments, and onboarding new employees, will also be affected.

“The main thing is to be mindful that if there is anything you will need during the week of the outage, like a transcript or a pay stub, you should get it before the outage or be prepared to wait,” said Alex Henson, chief information officer at VCU. “Individual service areas have been working with their teams to make sure any impact is minimized, so for example academic advisers will make sure to download relevant information before the outage so they can sustain students.”

For a full list of affected systems, visit Technology Services’ Banner Cloud Migration project website. Students, faculty and staff are advised to plan around the following outages:

  • Friday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. to Wednesday, Dec. 7, at approximately noon. All Banner systems will be unavailable, including Banner Admin Pages, Degree Works, Real Source and eServices (Banner Self-Service), among others.
  • Friday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. to Friday, Dec. 9, at approximately 10 a.m. All Operational Data Store systems will be unavailable, including the VCU Reporting Center and SAS Visual Analytics dashboards, among others.

While Canvas will be available throughout the outage, changes to registration or other changes to student information will not be able to be made until Banner is back up. Grade entry will be available starting on Thursday, Dec. 8, unless an announcement comes out sooner that Banner is available. Employee payroll will not be impacted, but most information delivered through the employee self-service and myVCU functions (eServices) will be unavailable.

Henson thanked the VCU community for its patience during the outage. The timing was selected by the Banner Issues Group — a large group of VCU Banner users and university leaders with representation from Admissions, Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Success, the Office of the Provost, Student Affairs, the Office of Records and Registration, Human Resources, Finance and others — as it was determined to have the least amount of impact to students, faculty, staff and VCU operations.

“The Banner Issues Group met multiple times to determine the window of time that would have the least business impact to VCU,” Henson said. “This window, while disruptive, was viewed by each functional area as a time when activity was lower than at other times and where crucial deadlines could be managed. While one might think that doing this over the holiday break would be better, that is one of the heaviest processing times of the year as the fall semester closes out and the spring semester is set up. Faculty members will still have time to enter grades, semester-end and calendar year-end processes will still have time to run and personnel will be available to address any issues people have.”

Migrating Banner to the cloud is a critical part of VCU's technology strategy, as it will lower the risk of outages, improve operations, and provide real-time data availability and dashboard capability.

Henson added that the Banner migration is necessary because Ellucian, the vendor that develops and supports Banner, is moving toward a business model of delivering its software via cloud infrastructure.

Additionally, VCU’s primary data center is located at the site where Virginia is building its new Virginia Supreme Court building, thereby requiring VCU to move servers and infrastructure that support Banner.

“Analysis showed that migrating to the Ellucian Cloud would be more cost-effective and involve less risk than rebuilding all of the servers and other infrastructure into a new facility operated by VCU,” Henson said.

To find answers to many questions related to the Banner Cloud Migration Project, please visit the project’s FAQ at: