Established in 1975, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing (MoMRA) is the governmental organization in charge of infrastructural development in Saudi Arabia’s 17 regional and 269 local municipalities. Through its activity at the central and regional levels, the ministry aims to create smart cities, provide high-quality services to citizens, and lay the foundations for a more sustainable future.
To align with Saudi Arabia’s “National Transformation Program 2020” and the strategic goals of the “Saudi Vision 2030” initiative to improve customer service and innovation, MoMRA recognized the need for a modern IT environment. With each municipality operating its own data center and running different applications and digital services depending on citizens’ needs, MoMRA decided it was time to move from a distributed architecture to a centralized, highly secure IT environment to increase efficiencies and reduce license and maintenance costs.
Managing the fragmented and complex data center architecture also posed business continuity problems for MoMRA, such as ensuring system availability in case of a disaster. This led the Ministry to seek a single cloud-based infrastructure solution for all municipalities at the Municipalities Information Center.
Moving to Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer increased availability and performance, reduced license costs by 60%, and helped us provide better and faster municipal services to Saudi citizens, without any interruption.
Database Director, Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing
In the decision to move to Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer, MoMRA reduced administrative and license costs associated with on-premises hardware. Consolidating all databases on Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer centralized data, including personal information of Saudi citizens, for more control and security, higher availability, and ensured business continuity. Running Oracle workloads on Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer also gave the Ministry a significant advantage in terms of speed and performance, because the platform is optimized for running Oracle Database workloads.
MoMRA consolidated all Oracle databases without disruption to Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer, which includes all required compute, network, database, and storage components. It not only realized a 60% reduction in database license costs, but also noticed improvements in availability, scalability, and performance compared to running workloads separately in each municipality’s data center. Response time dropped from 3 seconds per request to 1 second for a substantial improvement in user experience, both for Saudi citizens and municipal employees.
Since the deployment of Exadata Cloud@Customer, MoMRA has better control over data and workflows as well as a significant reduction in total cost of ownership. Because all data handled by the municipalities is secured behind the ministry’s firewall, the data sovereignty, security, and governance requirements of the Saudi government are fully met.
MoMRA no longer deals with different teams such as operating system administrators, storage specialists, or network analysts to identify the source of an incident. “I have a single point of contact now if an issue occurs. We control the maintenance from the console of the Exadata machine where we can see each component. Also, part of the maintenance is covered by Oracle, which means there’s more time for us to focus on the business,“ says Database Director Khalid Alfleiw.
Exadata Cloud@Customer was also a major win for the Ministry in terms of scalability, with continuous online resource scaling for true pay-per-use economics. Because Exadata supports a multitenant container architecture, which makes it easy to create pluggable databases within minutes, MoMRA did not need to buy new hardware for its innovative projects or in anticipation of a growing population.
The advanced security controls that MoMRA has gained since deploying Exadata Cloud@Customer offer increased protection for sensitive payroll data for the Ministry’s 612 employees through advanced encryption and transaction traceability.
As a result of Exadata Cloud@Customer’s disaster recovery capabilities with Oracle Active Data Guard, the organization can successfully meet its heavy reporting needs with high performance. Also, it can isolate problems that could impact the production environment. This helps build an efficient working environment because employees no longer worry about performing queries directly on the production data. Instead, they can generate the reports they need from a disaster recovery instance. Oracle Active Data Guard helps the ministry continue operating regardless of any IT issues.
Oracle Advanced Customer Service and the ministry’s IT team helped with the deployment.