Case Study – Finance Company

Our client, an AIM-listed independent finance company, provides a range of high quality financial products to both business and personal customers.

The organisation has experienced sustained, strong organic growth over a four year period, with business volumes further increased through acquisition.

Much of that success is accredited to our client’s innovative proposal system, powered by an Oracle Standard Edition database implemented, maintained and supported by Pro DBA.

Rapid Data Growth Brings Challenges

Our client faced the challenge of sustaining good performance from their proposal system while data volumes increased through business growth and the introduction of new product lines.

The existing architecture had served the client well through four years of business growth, but limited hardware scalability and Oracle version obsolescence meant the installation was nearing the end of its useful life.

Pro DBA has worked closely with the client and their application vendor since the proposal system was launched, providing strategic advice where appropriate. Our client therefore recognised the key role that Pro DBA could play in shaping future technical direction.

Designing A Solution Appropriate To Requirements And Budget

Through detailed discussion with the client’s business managers and technical staff, Pro DBA determined that system performance and price were key factors in designing a new hardware platform.

Though high uptime is vital, the business chose not to implement Oracle Real Application Clusters (RAC), Oracle’s highly resilient and scalable clustering technology. This decision was based on cost benefit analysis performed jointly by Pro DBA and the client.

Business continuity has been safeguarded since system launch by a resilient standby database solution. This uses Pro DBA’s free archive log ship-and-apply procedures to replace functionality only available in Oracle’s more costly Enterprise Edition product. The client chose to retain this functionality in the new infrastructure.

Implementing The Solution

For a modest investment our client purchased an AMD based 64-bit server running Windows Server 64-bit. Pro DBA recommended both vendor and hardware specification, as a comparable purchase had recently yielded exceptional results for another Pro DBA client with a similar application profile.

Oracle 10g Release 2 Standard Edition One software was installed and patched on the client’s new hardware several weeks prior to the scheduled migration date. Rigorous testing then took place using a migrated copy of the production database.

Diligent planning by Pro DBA, the client and the application vendor paid off on go-live day, with the database migration completing without a hitch in less than three hours.

Benefits Gained

The move to a 64-bit architecture allowed Oracle to address a much larger data cache, vastly reducing physical disk access and thus improving database performance massively.

Migrating to Oracle 10g brought additional benefits. Oracle optimizer enhancements and improved PL/SQL efficiency make Oracle 10g significantly faster than Oracle 9i, and far faster than Oracle 8i. The version migration has also delivered improved supportability and a richer feature set.

Annual Oracle subscription costs have been slashed by two thirds following the move from Standard Edition to Standard Edition One, giving the client a tangible return on investment.

The Immediate Future

The results of the project exceeded our client’s expectations, with key application processes running five times faster directly after the migration. Subsequent tweaks and fine-tuning yielded more gains, and the client's application enjoyed faster-than-ever response times.

The Longer Term

Pro DBA has since migrated our client to Oracle 11g Release 2, providing access to an even wider range of database features. The system continues to perform well, backed by Oracle 11g Release 2's unfaltering reliability and excellent performance.

Further Information