DW Migration and Upgrades: Cheaper, Faster, Safer with OWB

Handcoding may look cheaper and quicker sometimes, but OWB gets you greater flexibility and lower costs over the long term.  This news item from ZDNet down under showcases an OWB customer winning big in a quick migration of their data warehouse from Oracle Database 10.2 to Database 11.1:

Retail distributor Metcash, owner of IGA distribution and IGA Fresh, this week revealed it had migrated to Oracle's Database 11g from 10.2g earlier this year.

The upgrade decision came as part of a wider data warehouse hardware consolidation program in late 2008, according to Carl Young, Metcash's technical lead for the project, with the company ditching its HP Superdome Unix servers for IBM P6 servers running the AIX operating system.

"I thought it best to roll up the two testing cycles into one and move on to the latest Oracle software," Young said of Metcash's motivation to upgrade to Database 11g.

The migration to 11g took a total of 12 weeks, while testing in Metcash's production environment with the systems running in parallel took six weeks. Metcash's 11g went into production in February this year.

Metcash's use of Oracle's programming tool Warehouse Builder, which automatically regenerated code from the source 10.2g database to the target 11g database, meant programmers weren't required for the taskBenefits to Metcash included reducing batch report production time, cutting out the use of Excel spreadsheets, and the ability to store more data online. Other performance benefits came from query caching, which helped avoid duplicating retrieval as well as the ability to make structural changes to the database without having to rebuild the "materialised database view aggregate" — a process that used to take 24 hours.

So… the takeaway: OWB made it easy to build a faster, more flexible data warehouse that leveraged the 11g database on a short schedule, with minimal development costs, low overall migration costs, and low project risk.

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