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April 26, 2021

How three companies brought the simplicity and flexibility of Oracle Cloud into their own data centers

By: Jeffrey Erickson | Director of Tech Content

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Beyond the industry buzz around Oracle’s groundbreaking Exadata Cloud@Customer service are hundreds of companies, big and small, that are finding it the obvious solution for bringing cloud innovation into their data centers.

As the benefits of cloud become ever more obvious, many businesses have felt held back by security and regulatory concerns from tapping the cloud’s savings, flexibility, and innovation. Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer unleashes them. Here are three examples.

The IT team at McMaster University, which enrolls more than 31,000 students, was determined to get the elastic scalability benefits of cloud while keeping control of their data on-premises. “The ability to scale up or down is great for the campus lifecycle calendar,” says Kevin de Kock, the school’s director of enterprise applications and data systems, because students research, register for classes, and make changes in brief bursts of activity only a few times a year. De Kock’s team supports Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions among other enterprise applications for students and staff of the university, located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Bringing Exadata Cloud@Customer into its data center gave McMaster the elastic scalability of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, as well as a platform to consolidate more than 175 databases to under 75. Exadata Cloud@Customer is built on Exadata Database Machine, an integrated mix of hardware and software designed to run Oracle Database securely, at maximum performance, scalability, and availability. Businesses have been using Exadata for their most challenging database workloads since 2007, often using it to consolidate databases while vastly improving their performance and availability. Exadata is the foundation of Oracle Cloud database services, such as Exadata Cloud@Customer and Autonomous Database. 

With Exadata Cloud@Customer handling routine database management activities, provisioning databases for dev and test projects takes McMaster less than a quarter of the time it once did, freeing employees to do more challenging work. The university has shortened its end-to-end data refresh process from 10 hours to 1.5 hours and its back up from an hour to seven minutes. De Kock reports that ETLs are 25 percent faster and scheduled query runtimes have improved by 70 percent. “Exadata Cloud@Customer was the perfect solution because it provides cloud functionality while hosting on-premises, with a low-risk path to the cloud,” De Kock says.  (Read more on how integration between Exadata Cloud@Customer and PeopleSoft helped McMaster react to a spike in deferral requests due to COVID-19.)

Outcomes like this have not gone unnoticed by industry analysts, such as IDC and others. They rank Oracle’s solution for bringing cloud computing to customers’ data centers ahead of programs at AWS, Microsoft, and others. For example, dbinsight’s Tony Baer says, “No other cloud or database provider offers this level of simplicity or flexibility on-premises.”

NTT West builds a region-wide program that meets data sovereignty and compliance requirements

Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corp (NTT West) wanted to build a more responsive cloud platform for large customers that use its technology services. NTT West brought Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer into its data centers because its elastic scalability helps them reduce the cost of offering pay-per-use pricing to its customers. And as a true cloud service, it lowers the cost for skilled labor and infrastructure maintenance because that work is managed by Oracle. Equally important for NTT West is that Exadata Cloud@Customer “uses the superior technology of Oracle Database as a cloud service delivered in our own data centers, meeting all of our data sovereignty and compliance requirements,” says Norihito Senda, Nagoya Branch, Advanced Solution Department, NTT West.

As NTT West implemented Exadata Cloud@Customer in its data center, the company saw a 40 percent drop in system processing time. NTT West took advantage of features, such as Exadata SmartScan, to speed up processing of large data batches, and Oracle Multitenant to build multiple pluggable independent databases and simply manage them as one. 

Bringing Oracle Autonomous Database into customers’ data centers is a big example of how Oracle Exadata continues to speed ahead of the competition for hosted data management options. “Oracle is at least two generations ahead of everyone else with respect to delivering a production-proven autonomous database—available in the cloud and on-premises,” says Holger Mueller, VP and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Lalux creates a new path to innovation

Luxembourg-based insurer, LaLux, had two key goals for its infrastructure refresh: Get more use from the computing resources that they were currently paying for, and enable them to firmly meet industry-standard regulations, such as Solvency 2, Cloud Guidelines IT Governance, GDPR, and more, says Vincent Arnal, CIO of Lalux. Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer enabled them do both while providing a cloud platform that they could use to get more innovative. 

Using two 1/4 rack configurations of Exadata Cloud@Customer, Lalux got the elastic scalability to handle peaks of six times more than the average usage—plus enough capacity to support the company’s growth and new projects for the next five years. 

Another benefit of the Exadata Cloud@Customer service is that it includes a lot of database features at no additional cost, says Arnal. Such features include Partitioning, Advanced Compression, Advanced Security, Real Application Testing, Active Data Guard, Management Packs, and more. "This fact is a real game-changer because it enables new ways of designing IT solutions,” Arnal says. Creating that kind of new path to innovation is exactly what they’d hope to find with their infrastructure refresh and their journey to the cloud.

Director of Tech Content

Jeff Erickson is director of tech content at Oracle, as well as an avid open water swimmer and student of Zen meditation. Erickson has more than 15 years of experience writing for and about the smart, curious people who keep our digital world humming.

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