Alcoa Gets It: Oracle Warehouse Builder, Oracle Database, RAC, and BI
By antonio romero on Nov 19, 2007
According to a new press release, world-leading aluminum producer Alcoa has adopted Oracle Database, Oracle Real Application Clusters, and Oracle Warehouse Builder for constructing a multi-terabyte global data warehouse, as a better alternative for their long-term needs, following "a thorough evaluation of Oracle and a third-party database platform provider." From the release:
With its GDW, Alcoa's business and corporate executives are able to access, manage and integrate global data from a single source to targeted business analytics applications such as Oracle's Hyperion Essbase, Hyperion Financial Management and Hyperion Planning - components of Oracle Fusion Middleware. Alcoa consolidated data from four regional instances of the Oracle E-Business Suite it has deployed throughout the world into a single, global repository to support its business analytics, Enterprise Performance Management, and Master Data Management initiatives. The fast-growing multi-terabyte data warehouse supports approximately 9,000 users across Alcoa's strategic business units in the form of dashboards, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and scorecards.
...Alcoa deployed Oracle Database 10g, Oracle Real Application Clusters, Oracle Clusterware, Oracle Automatic Storage Management, Oracle Partitioning, Oracle Warehouse Builder 10g Release 2, Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer, and Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g on a cluster of three HP 9000 rp8420 servers with eight PA-RISC 8700 processors running HP-UX.
The upgraded GDW can support an increased number of applications and data sources.... With Oracle Real Application Clusters, Alcoa is able to incrementally add server capacity to adapt easily to growing business demands without disruption. Finally, Alcoa has a technical architecture for supporting its GDW over time.
"The clustered database architecture that we've deployed has satisfied our business and performance requirements," said Matthew Schroeder, Manager, Business Information & Technologies, Alcoa. "It also offers us the flexibility we need for future growth."
Warehouse Builder is a bit buried in the text of this release, so it may not seem that important. But solving a problem like this is just what Warehouse Builder (and Oracle's range of database, DW and BI offerings) is made for:
- Drawing from an ever-increasing array of applications and other data sources;
- Ensuring the quality of the data as it's collected;
- Populating and managing a data warehouse on whatever scale customers need;
- Turning the contents of that warehouse into actionable information though BI.
The OWB 11g Overview whitepaper lays out the role of OWB in this story at more length, but the key insight is how each piece of the puzzle enables the others:
- The richer the data in your warehouse, the more and better the actionable information your BI products can pull out of it;
- The better your data integration, ETL and DQ processes, the richer the data in your warehouse;
- The more productive and effective your ETL and DQ developers, the better your processes can be, and the more sources you can incorporate.
Which, of course, is where OWB comes in. :)
The database with RAC, of course, delivers one kind of scalability: handling ever-greater volumes of data. And OWB has a role to play here-- the code it generates has to take optimum advantage of the underlying Oracle database. But OWB also takes care of another kind of scalability: handling more sources, and doing more with them, and getting more, and more consistent, results out of your development resources by getting as much automation and smarts into the tool as possible, and getting as much integration between the tool and the sources as possible.