Digi-Key Corporation is an electronics components distributor with a business philosophy centered on providing a superior customer service experience. In only six years, Digi-Key has moved from 16th largest to 5th largest among the more than 300 electronic component distributors in North America. The company serves an international market from a single, geographically centralized location and is committed to a fill rate (the percentage of ordered items that are completely delivered in one shipment) of better than 95%, compared to an industry average of 50% or less.
Digi-Key has more than 479,000 customers in over 170 countries. The company processes approximately 15,000 orders each day—and more than 3.4 million yearly. It maintains 2 million stock keeping units in inventory, and the company prides itself on processing shipments within 20 minutes of order receipt. Approximately 80% of Digi-Key’s sales are processed online.
To support its continued growth, Digi-Key decided to implement a robust, enterprisewide data warehouse that includes data from various source systems across all parts of the business. Digi-Key built a data warehouse based on Oracle Exadata Database Machine to meet its growing performance needs and enable the company to improve the timeliness in reporting to enable better decision-making.
The new data warehouse is the central source for reporting and business intelligence (BI) analytics for the enterprise, presenting both real-time and point-in-time information for the business. Oracle Exadata Database Machine helps Digi-Key process critical reports much more quickly. For example, one key report—a batch processing report—that the business heavily relies on throughout the day, previously took 26 minutes to run. Now with the Oracle-based data warehouse, Digi-Key can run the report in 32 seconds—or 49 times faster—enabling business users to receive the information they require when they need it, to make more effective decisions. The company is also able to run more than 80% of its queries up to 50 times faster with Oracle Exadata Database Machine. For example, one query that previously took an hour to run in production now runs more than 500 times faster, in only seven seconds. As a result, Digi-Key can make business decisions immediately and complete order fulfillment within 20 minutes of order placement.
When Digi-Key first began evaluating potential solutions for its enterprise data warehouse, it thought that Oracle Exadata Database Machine would be out of its price range. But, when the company priced it against traditional Dell hardware and a storage area network, it found that Oracle Exadata was the better choice from a business value, solution, and cost perspective.
“Oracle Exadata Database Machine is in a league of its own when it comes to performance. I am an Oracle person, and our Chief Information Officer is an Oracle person. We have long known that Oracle is the leader in data warehousing. When we thought about implementing a true enterprise data warehouse, we did not consider anyone else. The choice was clear,” said Miles Oustad, Manager, Database Services, Digi-Key Corporation.
Digi-Key deployed its first Oracle Exadata system in early 2011, starting with a quarter rack, and within a year expanded its environment to three full racks. The company went through an extensive upfront planning process, but once Digi-Key received its equipment, it found its Oracle Exadata deployment to be very turn-key.
“When compared to deploying commodity hardware, there is no comparison. Ordinary commodity hardware would have taken us much longer to install than it took to install Oracle Exadata. We were also wowed with the performance of backups to Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage 7420 and 7320 appliances because, in the case of a system failure or disaster, we are able to retrieve data and be up and running quickly,” Oustad said.
Within a year, Digi-Key knew it needed more capacity, so it worked with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services to deploy three full Oracle Exadata racks—one each for development, test, and production environments.