University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Hi Everyone,

Cory Watson here from Georgia State University in Atlanta. We're currently running on the Reddot CMS by Opentext. It was chosen roughly 5 years ago in a rushed process and has never been what we expected. The issues we have had over time have led us to begin a process of evaluating other CMS systems.

 

Our current University policy mandates that every unit and college use the CMS that is chosen centrally by our IT department, so the choice is an incredibly political one. Right now, Sitecore and Drupal are two of our top contenders. However, there is a lot of concern about Drupal not being ready for enterprise-level implementation. For instance, our PR department mandates standardized templates across all University properties. There is concern about our ability to update template files once and then push them out to all the units in an efficient manner. There are also questions about whether we can use a unified single code-base to support Drupal instances running on 6-10 separate servers around the University...each of which will need to manage 2-20 separate "sites."

 

So, I wanted to ask this community if any of you have implemented Drupal on a full university-wide scale and what your experience of that was. Also, if you have any answers to those specific questions, they would be appreciated. If I need to post any additional information, I'd be happy to.

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Cory,

Drupal is absolutely viable on that level, multi-site and single code base installs have a ton of documentation and discussion. I would recommend drupal.org for more info. You will have to chose D6 or D7 very carefully, based on your launch schedule.

A couple posts that I remembered the locations of:

http://groups.drupal.org/node/138904 - Drupal on an enterprise level in Higher Ed

http://drupal.org/documentation/install/advanced-multisite - Info about different kinds of multi-site installs

 

 

Out of all the OSS CMS applications Drupal is the only that really is enterprise ready (DotCMS may be argued to be the same but it seems to be shifting away from open-source rather quickly). 

 

While we haven't used it university wide here, we have implemented the features you require across multiple departments with ease. 

AFAIK, there is no indication that dotCMS plans to end its open source branch. What they have done is just shift to a model that puts the bleeding edge or enterprise features into an enterprise branch (ie things like Oracle and LDAP support). You can still absolutely use its core functionality though to run a full set of sites. And arguably, their enterprise licensing is crazy affordable compared to competitors (like Red Dot/Opentext).

 

Personally, I would still use dotCMS over Drupal for higher ed. My past experience (which may not be accurate now) was that Drupal's ability to scale tended to be focused on how well you could do a rain dance. It worked, but you were either going crazy in configuration, or relying on plugins, etc. Plus the interface never came across as user friendly enough for the folks we have in our CMS (again, might not be true anymore).

Out of all the OSS CMS applications Drupal is the only that really is enterprise ready
That's quite a loaded claim, and one I vehemently disagree with. What's your definition of "enterprise ready"?

This would, of course, depend on your definition of enterprise. In higher-ed websites I am assuming their definition of enterprise includes the ability of the application to scale in order to accommodate high load as well as the ability to manage the necessary users and assets required across a diverse campus. 

 

That said, for a main university page focused on marketing it is an excellent "enterprise ready" choice capable of handling large, busy sites over multiple users and domains. Now if your definition of enterprise differs in this application you may make arrive at a different conclusion particularly in relation to Drupal's database implementation which have traditionally been lacking. In this case if your goal is to use Drupal as a large scale replacement for a system such as Banner you're going to be in a world of hurt.

 

Fienen, sorry about the DotCMS. I didn't mean to say that it isn't there. My experience however is that so much of it has moved to the commercial product that the FOSS implementation has almost become something of a misnomer. Of course I haven't looked into it as deeply as yourself and others and would be open to seeing it go head to head with Drupal with a simlar [low] budget.

In higher-ed websites I am assuming their definition of enterprise includes the ability of the application to scale in order to accommodate high load as well as the ability to manage the necessary users and assets required across a diverse campus.

So to be clear, did you really mean to say that Drupal is the only FOSS CMS that meets these requirements?

…for a main university page…it is an excellent “enterprise ready” choice capable of handling large, busy sites over multiple users and domains.

I don't doubt it. I'm not trying to knock Drupal. I'm trying to point out that it's far from being the only enterprise-ready open source web CMS.

…If your goal is to use Drupal as a large scale replacement for a system such as Banner you're going to be in a world of hurt.

I don't know Banner, but I believe it. The ERP/SIS space is inherently painful.

-Mike

To support large-scale Drupal use, suggest looking at Aegir project http://community.aegirproject.org/notebook

"Aegir is a powerful hosting system that sits alongside a LAMP or LEMP server to create, deploy and manage Drupal sites.

Once Aegir is installed, you can setup a Drupal site in just a few clicks. Aegir creates the web server's site configuration files, the site's database, runs the Drupal installation process and reloads the relevant services, all automatically."

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