Abu Dhabi National Oil Company Distribution (ADNOC Distribution) is a United Arab Emirates (UAE) government-owned company that specializes in marketing and distributing petroleum products within the country. Established in 1973, ADNOC Distribution is one of the largest petroleum companies in the Arab Gulf Region, operating more than 250 filling stations (a number that is growing at 8% annually), 12 vehicle-inspection stations, and a vast network of convenience stores across the country.
ADNOC Distribution is one of the largest and more innovative petroleum companies in the Arab Gulf and Middle East, with 3,000 concurrent daily users and more than 250 million financial transactions annually at its filling stations. Responding to growing global demand for oil and petroleum products, such as fuel, diesel, and lubricants, it continues to expand its services in the region. ADNOC Distribution’s domestic business is growing 10% to 15% annually, and its filling stations are on track to double to 500 million transactions, annually, in the next two years. The company’s IT department is constantly challenged with improving business processes and costs while managing rapidly growing data volumes and adding desired business functionality.
ADNOC Distribution has been an Oracle customer for almost 20 years, and, following a period of sustained growth in 2011, it needed a more comprehensive database solution to improve productivity and business performance. With more than 3,000 concurrent system users and business-critical applications that run 24/7, the requirement for efficient database management is central to ADNOC Distribution’s support infrastructure. Running 10 databases and multiple operating systems on servers with lengthy processing times was reducing productivity, raising costs, and inhibiting growth.
The organization decided to implement Oracle Exadata Database Machine to consolidate to five Oracle Databases—supporting enterprise resource planning (ERP), online transaction processing (OLTP) applications, and business intelligence (BI) applications—onto a single database platform within a private database cloud. ADNOC Distribution substantially increased system availability and achieved massive performance gains across business-critical applications, while improving business processes across all functional units.
The Oracle Exadata implementation delivered several other advantages. The solution’s advanced data-compression capabilities reduced storage requirements by nearly 90% and supported business expansion, such as scalability support to operate the newly acquired Emarat service stations, without adding capacity. Simplified and flexible system maintenance and administration, including faster backups, freed up the IT team’s time to focus on other priorities and enabled faster time-to-market. The company achieved a return on investment within a year.
ADNOC Distribution also uses the Oracle Exadata platform as the foundation for an Oracle Database-as-a-Service solution. The company can provision new databases in just a few minutes by using standard templates for OLTP, data warehouse, storage configuration, and security parameter settings, greatly reducing manual configuration efforts and associated risks.
ADNOC Distribution’s 24/7 sales systems support more than 10 core business applications and over 50 business-related IT services. By running its main sales, smart card, and retail C-Store sales systems on Oracle Exadata, the company realized significant increases in internal performance and saved several thousand processing hours, annually.
As a result, ADNOC Distribution’s main sales system experienced an average 15-fold performance increase, drastically reducing the time needed for sales-cycle closing, customer-sales reporting, and sales analysis. The company saves 1,596 processing hours per year in its sales system, alone.
Having one of the busiest OLTP systems in the Gulf region, with more than 20 million oil and gas transactions each month, the company’s smart card system saw similar performance gains. With a massive reduction in OLTP time, ADNOC Distribution served its smart card customers 20% faster than before, and reduced the monthly billing process from 220 minutes to only 10 minutes. In addition, ADNOC Distribution saw on average a 20-fold performance improvement in banking transactions, daily summary processing, and monthly closing, saving it 3,420 processing hours per year.
Consolidating ADNOC Distribution’s scattered data into a centralized warehouse was of strategic importance, with downstream markets looking to drive growth in retail by increasing nonfuel revenue. A15-fold performance increase led the company to save 10,976 processing hours per year across business processes, such as retail forms entry, retail report generation, and stores’ financial closings. For example, the company reduced the time needed for a purchase-order entry from four minutes to 45 seconds.
Running Oracle E-Business Suite on Oracle Exadata led to many benefits for human resources (HR), finance, and supply-chain staff. For these departments, which form the backbone of ADNOC Distribution’s operations, efficiency is critical. Prior to implementing Oracle Exadata, it took HR staff a full minute just to drill down to access a particular employee’s information. Now it takes three seconds. As a result, the company can process payroll for its 8,500 employees in just 20 minutes instead of 2.5 hours, and managers can approve employee leave in one to two seconds, compared to one to two minutes, previously. On the supply-chain side, the stock-transaction inventory report runs in eight seconds, compared to eight minutes previously—a 60x performance improvement. In addition, the company can run a full database backup for Oracle E-Business Suite in 30 minutes compared to 180 minutes before deploying Exadata—a 6x improvement.
These and other performance benefits, such as a 20x faster database response, have substantially improved employee productivity and freed support staff to focus on the strategic needs of the business, rather than on time-consuming administrative tasks. This has led to greater efficiency and ultimately better service quality for customers in filling stations and convenience stores.
By running Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition on Oracle Exadata, ADNOC Distribution’s management team can make more informed and faster decisions concerning HR, finance, and sales activities. For example, the company reduced the runtime for HR analytics reports from 300 seconds to 10 seconds. Sales profitability reports run in 5 seconds instead of 120 seconds, and users can create executive dashboards in 10 seconds instead of 120 seconds.
With 250 million financial transactions annually, ADNOC Distribution cannot afford even a minute’s downtime. The IT division is tasked with ensuring 24/7 uptime to meet service-level agreements. Using Oracle Exadata Database as a service with Oracle Real Application Clusters and Oracle Automatic Storage Management, the organization maximized system availability and improved its ability to integrate with nonOracle platforms, such as Microsoft SQL or IBM DB2—using Oracle GoldenGate connectors to interface with Exadata.
As Awad Ahmed Ali El-Sidiq, senior database administrator, ADNOC Distribution explains: “Since everything in Oracle Exadata is redundant, including power, storage, server and InfiniBand network, we have achieved, in two years, complete, 24/7 system availability with nearly 100% system uptime. Oracle Active Data Guard helps to ensure high availability of database services across our remote data center as well as disaster recovery and business continuity.
ADNOC Distribution deployed an Oracle Exadata quarter rack to meet its 6-terabyte data storage needs. Using Oracle Hybrid Columnar Compression, it achieved a 10 to 1 storage capacity improvement. The company also improved data transfer performance and reliability by employing Oracle InfiniBand technology, supporting transfers and loading 1 terabyte of data in only two hours.
“Oracle Exadata’s consolidation capacities reduced our storage costs by 90%. We now have a centralized storage system that enables us to comfortably continue our current and expected annual growth of 15% without needing to add massive capacity,” said Awad Ahmed Ali El-Sidiq, senior database administrator, ADNOC Distribution.
By consolidating five Oracle Databases onto Oracle Exadata, and deploying Oracle Recovery Manager, ADNOC Distribution reduced full system backup time from 24 hours to 1 hour. With capacity no longer inhibiting performance, ADNOC Distribution can now run database backups even during peak hours.
Oracle Enterprise Manager’s single management interface reduced the system-administration burden and enabled the company to monitor and manage the entire database operation daily, including conducting a detailed analysis of system usage and all related components.
Further, by consolidating different database environments on a single platform, ADNOC Distribution reduced database licensing costs by 40%, significantly lowering the total cost of ownership.
Taking advantage of Oracle Exadata capabilities, such as flash cache, storage indexes, InfiniBand, and smart scan, ADNOC Distribution eliminated nearly 90% of performance bottlenecks, enabling the IT department to deliver faster service and help the business accelerate the time-to-market for new products and services.
“The challenge is how fast our technical team can make a database available in the production environment. Previously, when a business service request came in, we needed to prepare the hardware, create a database and application environment, install an operating system with the applications, connect it to our local area network, and configure everything—all of which took weeks and required the services of a multidisciplinary team,” Awad El-Sidiq said.
“We reduced this process to a single step, and with the Oracle stack being fully cloud-compatible, we can create a database ready for quality assurance and testing in just a few minutes. Our service delivery has changed significantly. The IT team was spending 60% of its time on system integration and testing. Now, we can launch new products and services in days, not weeks—especially when combined with Oracle Exalogic, which will be our next move to consolidate our Oracle application landscape. Thanks to consolidation and high performance, we reclaimed our total expenditure in less than a year,” Awad El-Sidiq said.
A key indicator of the project’s success was the feedback from business users. Thanks to the significant performance improvements and business continuity, more than 95% of system users said the increased IT performance exceeds their expectations.
For example, convenience-store staff confirmed that workflow processes are now 5x faster, including entering a receipt invoice number within the purchase-order system. Additionally, the logistics team affirmed that they can run contract reports in 5 to 10 seconds, a process that previously took an entire day.
Retail management reported quicker response times in reporting tools, and IT reported that transaction posting is now done in 10 minutes compared to four hours before Oracle Exadata. In finance, accountants reported that a critical financial report runs in only 10 seconds, compared to 15 minutes before. Some staff thought they were seeing last month’s data by mistake when this month’s invoices were generated in just five seconds.
“We chose Oracle Exadata because we could consolidate our transaction processing and business intelligence onto one platform that delivers extreme performance. Competing solutions are just not capable of providing the same results. Besides, we appreciate the benefits of working with a vendor who delivers innovation through the integration of both hardware and software, which reduces the costs and complexity of our IT infrastructure,” Awad El-Sidiq said.
“Our Oracle Exadata high-availability architecture will help us meet business-specific service level agreements, which is a key factor for providing 24/7 services across the country,” said Ali Abdul Aziz Al-Ali, vice president, IT, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company Distribution.