CSX Improves Data Compression by 7x, Reduces Database Storage Requirements by 21%
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CSX Improves Data Compression by 7x, Reduces Database Storage Requirements by 21%

CSX Corporation provides rail, intermodal, and rail-to-truck transload services and solutions to customers across a broad array of markets, including companies in the energy, industrial, construction, agricultural, and consumer products sectors. The company has played a critical role in the nation’s economic expansion and industrial development, with its network connecting every metropolitan area in the eastern United States, where nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population resides. It also links more than 240 short-line railroads and more than 70 ocean, river, and lake ports located in major population centers as well as small towns.

CSX maintains a large Oracle Database footprint—with more than 400 databases supporting critical, commercially-available, off-the-shelf and proprietary business applications, including payroll, dispatching, and a customer-facing order entry systems. The transportation company wanted to reduce its database footprint, while also ensuring high performance and business continuity. 

To achieve these critical business goals, and take advantage of new Oracle Database functionality, CSX decided to upgrade to Oracle Database 11g and use Oracle’s Advanced Compression option to enable data compression, improve performance, and reduce storage requirements.

In the company’s 1 terabyte (TB) data warehouse environment, the data management team used Oracle Advanced Compression to selectively use data compression on older partitions of very large tables, and it experienced a compression ratio range of 45% to 70%, opening up approximately 1.4 TBs of disk space while reducing data storage demands. Overall, with Oracle Advanced Compression, CSX lowered its database storage requirements by 21% and stemmed its storage growth by 19%.   

In addition to the reduction in its overall storage footprint and growth, CSX found that Oracle Advanced Compression improved batch job completion time by 30%, which frees available resources to accommodate additional jobs. It also improved query performance by 20% and enabled CSX to complete database backups 33% faster.

A word from CSX Corporation

  • “Oracle Database 11g and Oracle Advanced Compression are instrumental in enabling us to optimize our IT investment. With Oracle Database’s Advanced Compression option, we have achieved sevenfold data compression, reduced our database storage requirements by 21%, and can complete batch jobs 30% faster.” – Maritza Gonzalez, Technical Director, Data Management, CSX Corporation



Implementation Process

CSX wanted to minimize business impact and downtime during the upgrade to Oracle Database 11g, as well as reduce time for migrating all of its 400 databases. It used Oracle Real Application Testing to streamline the process and ensure flawless execution. CSX completed the project in half the time of its last upgrade five years ago, when it ran 30% fewer databases.

In the data warehouse environment, Oracle Advanced Compression was applied selectively to older partitions of the largest tables. This was done online with zero downtime. CSX is currently in the process of implementing Oracle Advanced Compression in a phased manner in the data warehouse, table by table.

CSX plans to implement Oracle Advanced Compression in its OLTP environments as well. The target environments will be identified based on database and table size, application needs, performance impact, and storage requirements.