The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) works to improve public safety through evidence-based crime prevention and recidivism reduction strategies and programs. It is one of the largest organizations in the country for offender management—operating 33 adult institutions and 3 juvenile facilities, in which it also provides general education, mental health, vocational education, and substance abuse programs and services for approximately 132,500 inmates. In addition, CDCR supervises approximately 55,000 parolees.
Like many public sector organizations, CDCR has faced budget constraints in recent years and continually looks for opportunities to optimize use of available resources in its IT department and elsewhere. In 2012, the IT department migrated several databases that support business-critical applications, including its parolee management system, to Oracle Exadata Database Machine. With the move, CDCR significantly improved the availability and performance of applications that must be available around the clock. As a result, it avoided US$400,000 in annual support costs, due to license and server consolidation. CDCR also avoided the need to purchase an additional US$1.5 million in technology licenses to support a separate initiative.
In 2012, as CDCR planned to migrate some of its applications from its own computer room to a centralized data center as part of a statewide consolidation initiative, it reevaluated its enterprise application environment, including its database and hardware requirements.
Hardware upgrades were imperative as many of the department’s servers supporting key applications were at their end of life. In addition, the department also faced the prospect of increased maintenance costs.
After careful consideration, CDCR migrated databases that support seven of its business-critical applications, including systems that track information on inmate populations and parolees and share information with local law enforcement, to Oracle Exadata Database Machine, an engineered solution that provides optimized servers, storage, and database software in a single system. The databases migrated included those systems supporting lifer scheduling and tracking (LSTS); revocation scheduling and tracking; juvenile scheduling and tracking; disability and effective communication; field information; and the law enforcement automated data system (LEADS), which shares information on parolees with local law enforcement personnel and must support more than 60,000 users. Most recently, CDCR migrated its CalParole parolee management system, one of its largest and most critical applications, to Oracle Exadata.
With Oracle Exadata Database Machine X2-2 Quarter Rack, CDCR has consolidated five databases and 12 servers onto a single machine, each with its own instance. As a result, CDCR avoided US$400,000 in annual license support costs. As important, since CDCR requires fewer Oracle database licenses with Oracle Exadata, it was able to transfer those legacy licenses that are no longer required to its business information system program (an enterprise resource planning solution), which is migrating to Oracle Database. In doing so, CDCR avoided the need to purchase US$1.5 million of additional technology licenses. The department expects to achieve full return on its investment in two years.
The benefits that Oracle Exadata delivers to CDCR extend far beyond financial savings. For example, the department has gained a new level of hardware stability for its critical applications, enabling 24/7 availability for systems, such as LEADS, on which state law enforcement officials depend on to help ensure public safety. Running two nodes on Oracle Exadata Database Machine, CDCR ensures redundancy and immediate failover for databases that support critical applications. Previously, when a database failed, it required CDCR IT personnel intervention to restore the system. Today, failover is automatic, ensuring availability and enabling IT personnel to focus on other mission priorities.
Application performance has also improved analyst efficiency. For instance, CDCR had to limit LSTS reports to 90-day increments to avoid timing out the legacy system. Today, it can run LSTS reports for any time increment with a single query. A critical data extract job that runs every 20 minutes and transfers updated information from CalParole to LEADS runs 70% faster.
On average, CDCR now completes reports involving large data extractions 100% faster than it could have done with the legacy environment, while some reports show time improvements above that.
Oracle Exadata delivers the scalability that CDCR requires to support applications that have tens of thousands of users, such as LEADS. The engineered system also ensures availability through prebuilt and self-deploying active-active clustering technology, via Oracle Real Application Clusters. Further, the recommended hardware configuration provides 30% more computing power than the other solutions that CDCR considered, providing room for growth.
CDCR has significantly streamlined system maintenance with Oracle Exadata. It can now complete database upgrades much faster, saving weeks of effort because it only needs to upgrade a database once, as opposed to multiple times. It has seen similar efficiency gains for system patching, as one pretested patch set is applied to patch all components of the Oracle Exadata.
In addition, IT staff members find it easier to diagnose the sources of performance issues. CDCR is using Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c to effectively manage and troubleshoot issues in its Oracle Exadata environment. “Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is a powerful tool. We can manage our entire environment from a single pane of glass—including hardware, databases, storage, and the network. It significantly accelerates problem identification and resolution,” said Davood Ghods, deputy director, enterprise information system, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
With Oracle Automatic Storage Management, a feature of Oracle Exadata, CDCR streamlines storage management, increases storage utilization and agility, and ensures predictable performance, availability, and scalability.
“Oracle Exadata provided a superior value proposition. It delivered the scalability and performance we require to support our inmate and parolee management and information systems, and provides powerful pre-built systems management and troubleshooting capabilities. We also have a single source for hardware, software, and storage, and a single point of accountability with Oracle—driving faster issue resolution,” Ghods said.
Oracle helped the department to deploy Oracle Exadata in just three days and provided training and knowledge transfer. CDCR worked with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services throughout the Oracle Exadata planning and implementation process. CDCR created new databases on the Oracle Exadata Database Machine and migrated the data from the Oracle Database 10g to Oracle Database 11g, using the Oracle Data Pump utility.
CDCR began its initiative in August 2012 and migrated its first application to Oracle Exadata in October 2012. It transferred its largest application, CalParole, in February 2013.
“We were able to partner with Oracle and create a real win-win scenario by leveraging our existing Oracle investment to achieve modernization while reducing our total cost of IT ownership, improving performance, sustainability, and realizing IT Green benefits,” said Joe Panora, director, enterprise information services, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.