Sep 27, 2013 (06:09 AM EDT)
Oracle On The Ground: Customers Speak
Read the Original Article at InformationWeek
Oracle OpenWorld hosted 60,000 attendees at its annual event in San Francisco this week, and three of those registrants took time out to talk to InformationWeek about how they were including Oracle software, and in some cases, Oracle hardware appliances, in their IT operations.
Jean-Jacque Wattecant, head of data processing at Airbus, the Euro airplane building consortium, said it takes a lot of test data to get an aircraft certified for shipment. He is currently focused on getting the latest model of the Airbus 320, the single-aisle competitor to the popular Boeing 737, certified in 12 months instead of the usual 19. Prototypes of the new plane are taken on test flights and the sensor data carefully analyzed afterwards. It is Wattecant's job to ensure the validity of both the data collected and the test results. That certification means the aircraft design is sound and production models will be ready to fly the public.
There are two types of tests: bench tests that can be conducted on the ground and flight tests. "There are 8,000 sensors on the plane to collect information, everything from temperature, pressure, acceleration, deceleration," which is sent to a central computer on the aircraft in its "flying-data center." Before the plane can take off for a test flight, the sensors have to be positioned and calibrated, then certified to be working properly. That used to be a two-person job, said Wattecant.
To speed things up, he's using Oracle Secure Global Desktop, a desktop virtualization product that projects user displays from a central server to a browser on an iPad or other remote device. That allows the sensor inspector to carry a tablet that displays the sensor's feedback. Previously, a second person sat in the flying-data center and reported to the inspector whether the sensor was working within its expected range. The screen is still produced in the flying-data center then forwarded to the inspector at the relevant sensor, allowing him to close the loop more quickly and get to the end of his 8,000-sensor checklist.
[ Want to learn about Oracle's moves to the cloud side? See Microsoft And Oracle Say Come To Azure. ]
Wattecant is in the first quarter of his 12-month countdown, but he said, "we're certain we're going to make the goal," thanks in part to the revised inspection process.
Overhead Door, a producer of residential and commercial garage doors, is a company that's grown through both sales and acquisitions. The acquisitions have brought Mapex, Peachtree, Sage and Costar manufacturing systems into the company. "We ran JD Edwards manufacturing on the IBM iSeries server (the former AS/400) with IBM's DB2," said CIO Larry Freed.
On Sept. 1, all units of the company, including the 17 manufacturing locations, started implementing his plan to standardize on the Oracle database system and a set of its E-Business Suite applications, including manufacturing, warehouse management and distribution. The E-Business Suite is run in a data center near Overhead Door's Lewisville, Texas, headquarters, and a second SunGard data center in Richardson, Texas, with many users accessing the suite through Oracle Web Center Portal.
Access is controlled through Oracle Identity Management. The growing library of Oracle applications is tied together through Oracle Fusion Middleware. Said Freed: "Our first goal is to have 50 Oracle modules running by the end of the year. By the end of 2014, we'll have 75." They'll all be running on two Exadata machines, a one-half rack appliance and a quarter-rack appliance, instead of a variety of servers.
Freed's IT shop, with a staff of 60, has found the demands on it have expanded, along with a need for a bigger budget, to make the changeover. Right now, he explained, he's forced to run three ERP systems as he's "trying to get down to one." Each new Oracle application tends to replace five or six legacy applications, with long-term savings in store further down the road.
The Exadata hardware is a key part of the consolidation strategy, with much of its system maintenance coming from Oracle rather than Overhead Door's database administrators (DBAs) and system administrators. It will end up with 16 Oracle databases running on four nodes of the appliance, Freed said.
Gautham Sampath, CTO of Pinellas County, Fla., with a population of 1 million surrounding St. Petersburg, uses a single console of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c to manage the county's 100 database systems. Enterprise Manager is lifecycle systems management for Oracle database systems, Fusion Middleware and Oracle applications.
Sampath said system administrators can see how well the parts of the software infrastructure are running from the management console. "We can be more proactive, less reactive," when admins see that a system is running low on CPU or memory, or a database response time is slowing as it works through a poorly formed SQL query.
Pinellas County can manage its 100 databases with four full-time-equivalent DBAs. Without Enterprise Manager, it would take at least six, and it would be "a much more manual process," Sampath said.
For example, Pinellas County uses a 1-TB database system that needs 10 copies to be used by dev, test, patching, updating and production-staging teams. Theoretically, he needs 11 TBs of storage for each team's copy, but Oracle 12c allows "subsetting" of the database with a limited set of all the data available. Dev and test can work with two years of back data, instead of the full 10 years available. Through subsetting, implemented through the Enterprise Manager 12c management console, he can make many of those copies 100-GB instances, bringing his total storage needs down to 2 TBs.
Even though they're only subsets, Enterprise Manager doesn't let them fall into inconsistencies with the full-sized system; it maintains referential integrity across all of them. Enterprise Manager 12c to Sampath is "a very big achievement," with a utility helping the DBA create subsets. The subset copies are easier to back up then 10 full-sized systems, thanks to "the lesser data footprint."
Pinellas County uses an Oracle Exalytics appliance to run the data warehouse system with Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise and Hyperion analysis software. Modeling and analysis and reporting on the county's $1.7 billion budget is done with those tools. In effect, Exalytics "is a decision-maker" when it comes to facing the county's largest challenges, he said.
Learn more about how IT can influence business decisions by attending the Interop conference track on the Business of IT in New York from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.