R.L. Polk & Co. Improves Testing and Rapid Roll Out of New Auto Industry Intelligence Applications with Storage Appliance
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R.L. Polk & Co. Improves Testing and Rapid Roll Out of New Auto Industry Intelligence Applications with Storage Appliance

R.L. Polk & Co. (Polk) is a leader in automotive information and marketing solutions. The company collects and interprets data, and provides extensive automotive business expertise to help its customers understand their market position, identify trends, build brand loyalty, win new business, and gain a competitive advantage.

Looking to continually expand services and develop new applications for its automotive industry clients, Polk wanted to improve performance in its development and testing centers to better replicate production conditions and accelerate time to deployment. With Polk’s production databases processing up to 10 million records per day, the company needs to ensure that new applications can handle massive loads.

Polk selected Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance for its application development and testing center. With the appliance, Polk can back up and restore an entire database—closely replicating what the application will experience when it goes into production—allowing the development team to test against full scale data and identify bugs and cases better and faster.

In its production environment, Polk uses Oracle Exadata Database Machine to power its automotive information applications and its business systems. The engineered system enables the company to efficiently manage twelve terabytes of data and quickly provide in-depth business and market intelligence to its executives, field staff, and customers. “Our customers noticed an immediate and dramatic improvement in application response time after we deployed Oracle Exadata Database Machine. Our applications run much faster today to the delight of our employees and customers,” said Doug Miller, Director, Database Development and Support, R.L. Polk & Co.

Polk uses Oracle Hybrid Columnar Compression in both its Oracle Exadata and Sun ZFS Storage 7420 environments. Having Oracle Hybrid Columnar Compression available in both environments is critical to Polk’s ability to replicate the complete database in the Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance environment to the development and test enviornment. At Polk, Hybrid Columnar Compression improved compression on an average of 5x to 10x, and so every one of its customer-facing data warehouses can fit onto one Oracle Exadata Machine. For example, Polk’s auto parts database, which was 1.5 terabytes, now fits into 300 gigabytes of storage, thanks to Oracle Hybrid Columnar Compression.

“Oracle Hybrid Columnar Compression’s compatibility with Sun ZFS Storage appliance was an important factor in our decision process,” Miller said. “Without Oracle’s compression capabilities, we would have had to uncompress every database to transfer it to the test environment—a process that would be extremely time consuming and not possible in some instances due to the size of the database.”

Rounding out Polk’s environment, the company also runs Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, which it deployed at the same time as Oracle Exadata. The solution has enabled the company to bring together information from multiple databases to empower customers to build dashboards and get the automotive industry information they want faster. It also enables them to drill down into the numbers for greater insight.

“Our Oracle Business Intelligence dashboards enable us to continue to innovate the products that we deliver to the industry―providing our customers with greater flexibility. They really make us shine and are big hit with our customers,” Miller said.

A word from R.L. Polk & Co.

  • "Even though we configured our Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance for capacity versus performance, we are amazed at its performance. With its flash caching, it performs very well when we run tests. And, the price for a 50 terabyte device is extremely attractive. The purchase was an easy business decision.” – Doug Miller, Database Development and Support, R.L. Polk & Co.



Why Oracle

“Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage 7420 appliance gives us a convenient, and cost-effective, way to closely replicate what our applications will be seeing when they go into production, ensuring our customers receive the highest level of service,” Miller said.