SGS: making most of ODA with Monin

“Thanks to the Oracle Database Appliances, we can handle more and bigger datasets, significantly increasing the speed of service for our customers.”

 Luc De Bruyn, IT Manager Belgium & The Netherlands at SGS

CHOOSING AN ALL-ORACLE APPROACH IMPROVED THE MANAGEABILITY OF THE ICT ENVIRONMENT AT SGS LIFE SCIENCES. IN CLOSE COLLABORATION WITH MONIN, SGS IMPLEMENTED TWO ORACLE DATABASE APPLIANCES, RESULTING IN HIGHER PERFORMANCE AND GUARANTEED BUSINESS CONTINUITY.

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 94,000 employees, the company operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world. SGS’s core services include inspection (such as checking the condition and weight of traded goods at transshipment, controlling quantity and quality, and meeting regulatory requirements), testing (controlling the quality, safety and performance of products against health, safety and regulatory standards), certification (demonstrating that products, processes, systems or services are compliant with standards and regulations), and verification (ensuring that products and services comply with standards and regulations). Combining global coverage with local knowledge, experience and expertise in virtually every industry, SGS covers the entire supply chain from raw materials to final consumption.

“SGS Life Sciences is a Contract Research Organization, providing services for the life sciences industry”, says Luc De Bruyn, IT Manager Belgium & The Netherlands at SGS. “Among other things, we offer data management and data analysis supporting the development of new pharmaceutical products.” Clinical studies performed by SGS Life Sciences result in large datasets, which are in turn the raw materials for further analysis and reporting. At the heart of these activities is an Oracle-based IT infrastructure. “Over the years, we worked with several types of IBM machines”, De Bruyn explains. “But as we didn’t have a dedicated specialist anymore for IBM Power Machines in our team, we felt we depended on external expertise just a little too much.” SGS decided to focus on Oracle instead. “Our infrastructure partner Uptime Group suggested to take a look at Oracle Database Appliance (ODA).” Uptime Group set up a Proof of Concept for the use of ODA at SGS. “We immediately saw the opportunity, not just to renew the hardware that had reached the end of its life cycle, but also to improve the level of business continuity of our infrastructure, by using ODA to set-up a disaster recovery environment.”

HALF THE LICENSES, DOUBLE THE PERFORMANCE

In Oracle Database Appliance, SGS found a suitable alternative for its previous environment. “ODA can be implemented using only minimal resources”, says Kris Jacobs, Oracle DBA at SGS. “The whole set-up is pretty straight forward. After only two days of implementation, we already were deploying actual DBs.” ODA allows the DBA to skip most of the complexity that traditionally comes with a new installation. But most of all, SGS was impressed by ODA’s performance. “ODA uses NVMe flash storage, hence the speed”, Jacobs explains. “We ran several tests, because at first we could hardly believe the results.” But the tests all showed the same results: ODA is running twice as fast as SGS’s previous configuration.

“Even when we run 20 DBs at once, the gain in performance is still there”, says Jacobs. And as ODA is an x86-based system, SGS only needs half the licenses it used to, for double the performance. The other half of the licenses still comes in handy, though. SGS installed a second ODA for disaster recovery. Oracle Data Guard was implemented to replicate data between both appliances. “The license volume is still the same”, De Bruyn explains, “but we get a lot more done with it.”

FASTER SERVICES FOR CUSTOMERS

Monin, an Uptime Group company, performed the installation and configuration of the ODAs in close collaboration with SGS’s Oracle DBA. The whole project was finished in just three weeks, including the complete migration of some 20 DBs. “We planned the migration of the biggest databases in the weekends”, De Bruyn continues. “But in general, the whole exercise was done fairly quickly.” Connecting the ODAs to the universal storage environment was a little more challenging. “But thanks to Monin, even that wasn’t a major hold-up.”

For SGS, the implementation of Oracle Database Appliance has improved the manageability of its ICT environment. “As we run everything on Oracle now, there’s no reason for finger-pointing.” Most important, however, is that SGS’s customer no longer depend on overnight batch processing. “We now analyze large datasets during office hours, without the risk of slowing down all our systems”, says Kris Jacobs, Oracle DBA at SGS. “We can handle more and bigger datasets, significantly increasing the speed of service for our customers.”

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