Sep 27, 2013 (06:09 AM EDT)
Oracle On The Ground: Customers Speak

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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.