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At OceanX, we have witnessed first-hand the power of combining our data management solutions with Oracle Cloud… and so have our clients.
OceanX is a spin-off from direct marketing pioneer Guthy-Renker and provides a subscription commerce platform that seamlessly combines e-commerce, fulfillment, customer care, and business intelligence to support brands and retailers looking to launch and scale direct-to-consumer recurring revenue programs. The platform is optimized to cultivate strong lifelong relationships with customers.
All Clouds are not Equal
OceanX started transitioning to the cloud in 2016 with AWS. OceanX used EC2 and RDS to host Oracle databases, EC2 instances for Informatica and Cognos applications, and Elastic Block Storage. In time, OceanX realized:
Data processing performance and reporting were slower than expected
After multiple rounds of triage, OceanX concluded that the slowness was due to the capped data throughput by AWS EC2 instances, as well as the shared backend, which detrimentally affected performance. The solution offered by AWS was to scale up EC2 VMs with maximum IOPs which would have added significant cost.
Not all cloud offerings support key Oracle database features
At the time of the migration, Oracle features such as RAC, multi-tenancy, and Data Guard were not officially supported in AWS. OceanX hosted multiple databases on separate EC2 and RDS instances with storage level snapshot as the only DR solution.
Its existing infrastructure limited scalability and complicated maintenance for growth.
As it expanded to support new clients, OceanX saw that it would outgrow its EC2 and RDS instances. Separate and scattered databases would require extra work for DBAs in patching and maintaining each one properly and efficiently.
The Best Cloud for the Best Database
OceanX looked for options to overcome these limitations. OceanX needed to move to a cloud provider that would not only provide a solution for its reporting needs, but one that could grow with OceanX’s business. In mid-2017, OceanX started a proof of concept (POC) with Oracle using the Exadata Cloud Service for the database and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for the mid tiers. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure allowed OceanX to set up a dedicated FastConnect connection from Oracle's data center to Direct Connect into applications hosted in AWS, resulting in a 300% performance increase. OceanX also took advantage of RAC for high availability and scaling, Data Guard for a Disaster Recovery environment, and multi-tenancy for consolidation onto a single platform that could grow with OceanX’s business needs.
Exadata Cloud Service allowed OceanX to consolidate thirteen databases into five container databases, with one container database having six pluggable databases. This helped with manageability and made for simpler patching. The container databases were spanned across the two nodes of their Exadata Cloud Service for high availability, as well.
Database File Storage was no longer a limitation for OceanX. With a quarter rack shape, more than 60 terabytes are available. OceanX was able to accommodate over 30 terabytes of data and have room to grow. The cloning and snapshot features allowed OceanX to use the extra space for test, development, and reporting environments.
Instant Improvements All Around
During the POC, OceanX observed meaningful performance differences building a Cognos cube on an Exadata platform versus on EC2. In AWS, an 11 million row cube took 40 minutes while a comparable 13 million row cube was built on Exadata in 8 minutes. This allowed OceanX to save time and money by eliminating the need to run each database on separate AWS instances.
OceanX was able to create a disaster recovery environment in the Exadata Cloud Service that could isolate workloads and provide critical databases when needed, not just in emergencies. Using a single platform for mixed workloads, where each database is given needed resources, allows OceanX to run faster, better, and with lower costs.
Next up for OceanX is investigating the Autonomous Database features that can further free up resources for administration and maintenance. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure also provides tools to automate the move into the cloud saving time, effort and reducing complexity.
OceanX needed a data platform that lived in the cloud and would grow with OceanX’s desire to be more than just an intermediary between the consumer and e-commerce companies. The cloud service OceanX selected would need to enable the business to run faster, more efficiently, be able to deliver insight and trends from consumer data and help make consumers feel known and valued. Oracle’s Exadata Cloud Service allowed OceanX to move its databases and data management platform to the cloud in a matter of months and to deliver a greater than 3x increase in performance.