The BANNER Student Information System is a database of student records and information maintained by UC Davis. The system is divided into the modules: Admissions, Registration, Billing/Accounts Receivable, Financial Aid, and Graduate Student Data. If you were an evil hacker in a movie, this would be the system you'd want to hack to change your grades.
BANNER is most commonly accessed by students via the SISWEB interface. Faculty and staff have client software that interfaces directly with BANNER. Instructors access banner through web-based class/grading rosters.
The UC Davis BANNER system runs a set of applications sold by SunGard known as Banner. As such, many other colleges use similar systems. The Banner Student Information System debuted at UC Davis in 1992 (one year before Mosaic, the first web browser, had been released!)
Over Labor Day weekend (September 2-4) 2006 the BANNER system is expected to be updated to version 7. Version 7 will bring look and feel changes, a web interface directly to the BANNER system for faculty, and removal of the "Citrix" machines (see below). One of UC Davis' primary motiviations for upgrading is that federal financial aid law requires it, likely due to capabilities that version 7 has but the current version does not.
As of 2005, the BANNER system is maintained by 15 systems: One master database server (64-bit machine running Oracle 9i on Solaris 8 — pictured above) with the 60GB banner database sitting on it, 2 web servers (for SISWEB interface, etc), 3 AFS servers that contain 'banner forms' (source, executable files, and Oracle application forms), 8 machines that execute applications known as "citrix", and 1 testing machine similar to the master machine (pictured above, as well).