We were expecting some performance improvements when we moved to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, but we weren’t expecting it to be that good.
Senior Director, Enterprise Applications, Murad
Murad has been an Oracle customer for a long-time, having leveraged E-Business Suite (EBS) for ERP, Oracle SCM, Demantra for planning and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) for business intelligence; all supported by Oracle Database in the back end.
“We have a long-standing relationship with Oracle, where we’ve really established trust,” said Rishabh Sinha, Senior Director of Enterprise Applications. “We knew it would make our lives easier to stay with Oracle and to move to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.”
Unilever had launched a corporate-wide initiative to enhance the consumer experience, facilitated by faster and more efficient back-office operations. Murad’s IT organization needed to work closely with their lines of business stakeholders to ensure they addressed the operational needs of their complex business model.
Murad has a multi-pronged distribution model, and each required better performing IT infrastructure to support faster enterprise resource planning (ERP) operations, faster supply chain management (SCM), faster planning applications and faster reporting. They sell directly to consumers via e-commerce where business is growing by 30% year over year. Therefore, the application stack, including the infrastructure, needed to support the high volume and growth of direct to consumer transactions more effectively. In addition, Murad distributes through televised infomercials, leading department stores, large beauty retail stores and boutique spas and salons. This means that their back-office systems also needed to better plan for, support and report on the high dollar-value orders placed by their B2B (business-to-business) partners.
Historically, Murad maintained their own hardware in a colocated data center, leveraging Cisco UCS hardware and refreshing them every 3-5 years. They were on the cusp of another hardware refresh cycle, when they decided to explore cloud infrastructure based on their key business and operational needs.
The first objective was to improve the performance of their critical enterprise applications, ensuring faster response time for ERP, SCM, planning, and business intelligence queries and reporting. A second goal was to lower infrastructure costs. A huge proportion of these costs were due to the high network bandwidth expenses required to connect their office to their data center. Finally, they wanted to offload hardware maintenance to a vendor and be able to enhance their business continuity and take advantage of continuous technology innovations that cloud can provide better than on-premises infrastructure.
Murad’s path to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure involved experimenting with trial licenses and executing a pilot to get familiar with the platform. Next, they moved their test environments for EBS, Demantra and OBIEE so that they could allow their super users to test in the new cloud infrastructure. Subsequently, they migrated their standby database, leveraging Oracle’s “bring your own license (BYOL) program to deploy Oracle Database on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Compute. Finally, they moved their production workloads for EBS, Demantra and OBIEE to the Oracle Cloud.
“I feel our migration plan went much smoother than we had anticipated,” elaborated Sinha. “We did all the testing beforehand and moved our standby environment first to the cloud. When it came time to go live with production it was like flipping a switch.”
Like many enterprises, Murad has a multi-cloud approach, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) powering their website and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure supporting enterprise applications and database. Since transactions coming through the website need to interact with the back-office systems, Murad worked with their Oracle and AWS technical and support teams to build a tunnel between the two clouds.
Murad has noticed a difference in how the two cloud vendors approach support. “With AWS, support seems more scripted and by the book,” said Sinha. “But with Oracle, we get more engagement. We have a dedicated customer relationship manager who is constantly engaged and reviewing situations with us. That’s where I see the biggest difference.”
Since going live, Murad’s business users have noticed a marked improvement in query times and reporting. EBS reports that used to take 15-20 minutes to run now take 5 minutes.
“We were expecting some performance improvements when we moved to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, but we weren’t expecting it to be that good,” said Sinha. “Our business stakeholders are coming up to us saying that their queries are coming up faster. Overall, we would estimate a 20-30% improvement in performance.”
Additionally, Murad has realized the cost savings that they were going after. They estimate a 30% cost benefit, with the biggest component saved being the high line connection cost from their prior data center to their offices. Murad is also saving on hardware and maintenance costs, and they even sold their hardware which has led to additional benefits. In conclusion, Murad can now leverage the savings towards implementing additional technology solutions to enhance their business needs.
Next up, Murad is exploring database as a service and they are planning for a long term objective of moving to software as a service.