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As the largest privately held software and IT services company, SunGard Data Systems Inc. operates a large global network of more than 20,000 employees serving 25,000 customers worldwide. Not surprisingly, the company’s technology needs are quite extensive. For example, SunGard Availability Services—a business unit that provides disaster recovery services, managed-IT services, information availability consulting, and business continuity management software to more than 10,000 customers in North America and Europe—manages 5 million square feet of data center and operations space. For many years, SunGard Availability Services has relied on Oracle’s SPARC Enterprise servers and Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.0.6 enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications to drive its own internal business processes.
SunGard Availability Services relies on SPARC Enterprise servers to provide the high availability needed to supports its mission-critical Oracle E-Business Suite applications. With a combination of virtualized and physical SPARC Enterprise servers, leveraging server partitioning, Oracle Solaris, and a four-node cluster on Oracle Real Application Clusters, SunGard services realizes the performance it needs. The reliable system also provides peace of mind for the IT team when it needs to perform maintenance or upgrades because IT staff can easily turn off one of the nodes and still operate at top performance.
“Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.0.6., running on SPARC Enterprise servers is remarkably stable, reliable, and fast. The SPARC Enterprise servers are invaluable to SunGard AvailabilityServices and our Oracle E-Business Suite environment,” said Hal Moretto, director, database platforms, SunGard Availability Services.
The high level of security inherent in Oracle Solaris 10 has also been a benefit, ensuring that SunGard Availability Services’ business applications and data are safe even when being made available to a large number of users and pushed out over the internet. The business unit also leverages Oracle Enterprise Manager to monitor all of its databases, servers, and Oracle E-Business Suite applications, which not only helps when it comes to security, but also reduces the burden on a limited IT staff.
SunGard Availability Services also leverages Oracle GoldenGate applications to capture changes to various tables in the ERP system and replicate that data in its data warehouse to enable reporting. Oracle GoldenGate enables the process to happen seamlessly, in the background.
SunGard Availability Services has moved to virtualized servers to support many of its systems, using Oracle VM Server for SPARC, and in doing so it realized a significant cost savings.
“We have cut hardware and software costs by 70% by virtualizing our SPARC Enterprise servers,” Moretto said.
Further, the virtualization environment enables the company to quickly scale up capacity as needed. “Currently, we run at about 40% of capacity, reaching 60% during peak periods. This means we have much room to support business growth,” Moretto said.
The Oracle hardware and software also drives key features of SunGard Availability Services’ online store for channel partners. The store runs on Oracle iStore, Oracle Configurator, and SPARC Enterprise T5220 and SPARC servers, which provide 99.999% availability.
“The online store has to be available around-the-clock for our channel partners all over the world, selling our products and services. With SPARC Enterprise servers in the background, we can deliver that availability. The partners can quickly access the online store to enter a customer request, which the system then processes through Oracle Configurator,” Moretto said.
Another area where availability is key is the company’s employee portal, which runs on Oracle Portal. Employees can log in to access key company data from around the world.
A long-time Sun customer, SunGard Availability Services has continued its commitment to use SPARC Enterprise servers to run its Oracle E-Business Suite applications due to the high availability and performance provided. “It is one thing for a company to market a product and tell you how it should work, and quite another to put it in place and see what happens in reality. For our SPARC Enterprise servers from Oracle, the reality is that they work as advertised,” Moretto said.
Now that Sun is part of Oracle, Moretto said that his company benefits from a reduction in the finger pointing that can sometimes occur between vendors when there is a problem and it is not clear if it is in the application, the operating system, the database, or another component.
“By having it all, top-to-bottom, from Oracle, it makes it much easier to resolve any problems,” Moretto said.
SunGard Availability Services has been using SPARC Enterprise servers for more than 15 years. It operates 13 Oracle E-Business Suite applications running in a shared services model. It completed an on-time upgrade to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.0.6 in August 2009.
Moretto shared an anecdote about a recent implementation of Oracle Real Applications clusters that illustrated just how reliable the Oracle system has been. During the implementation, SunGard Availability Services had one of its engineers complete a thorough testing exercise in which it tried to break the system. After exhaustive attempts, the engineer only found one or two failures, mostly related to configurations the company had done. After resolving those minor issues, the implementation go-live proceeded smoothly.
“By the time we finally flipped the switch, we were confident that the way the system was sold and configured would meet our availability needs,” Moretto said.
Going forward, the SunGard Availability Services IT team looks forward to the upcoming release Oracle Solaris Version 11.