NPRA enhances security and slashes costs with Oracle Cloud

Norwegian Public Roads Administration cuts maintenance costs 30% by migrating 400 databases to Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer in a private data center.

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We have significant potential for increased operational efficiency and cost-cutting with Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer. We don’t need to focus on hardware maintenance or software licensing and can dedicate ourselves to our primary business.

Rikard ThorbjørnsenHead of IT Platform Operations, The Norwegian Public Roads Administration

Business challenges

Statens Vegvesen (NPRA), the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, is Norway’s government agency responsible for the country’s 55,300 km of road networks and associated tunnels, bridges, ferry quays, and other load-bearing structures. It also maintains the National Road Database, renews driving licenses, and manages critical systems that interface with customs, tax administration, car dealers, police, insurance companies, and European agencies.

The administration standardized on Oracle Database more than 10 years ago, consolidating all databases and workloads on the high-performance hardware and software platform Oracle Exadata Database Machine. But even though the Norwegian government began endorsing cloud computing as of 2016, NPRA’s concerns about data sovereignty, security, and adherence to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) prevented it from moving to a public cloud.

However, by 2018, its on-premises Oracle Exadata was approaching its end of life. NPRA needed to slash periodic hardware refreshes and growing maintenance costs. It also had the responsibility to increase the performance of digital services consumed by the public.

In 2018, NPRA started to investigate establishing a private cloud behind its data center firewall and move databases, data warehouses, and other systems away from the existing on-premises IT infrastructure.

Why NPRA Chose Oracle

As a public sector organization, NPRA went through public procurement, meeting vendors and partners, and preparing a business case. The organization worked closely with Oracle sales, presales, and security experts as well as internal procurement, legal, security, and management teams. Security was the hardest part of the equation.

NPRA’s business operations team voted to migrate to Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer because it was a one-to-one replica of what existed on-premises. Management was convinced by the lower total cost of ownership and a step-by-step entry into the cloud. Legal and security teams were persuaded by both Oracle Cloud Infrastructure’s compliance with GDPR and the security provided by automated, regular patching.

“Exadata was a known quantity for us,” says Rikard Thorbjørnsen, head of IT platform operations. “We’ve had a happy experience since day one. And so moving to the new business model of Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer made perfect sense.”

Results

The administration migrated 90 critical systems with 395 databases from Oracle Exadata on-premises to Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer, with the private cloud in the data center remotely managed by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

The roads agency saw a 30% reduction in maintenance costs after moving from the on-premises software and licensing structure to running databases on OCI under a pay-as-you-go model.

The databases, data warehouse, critical applications, and tools acquired under on-premises licensing were moved directly onto a half-rack Oracle Exadata X8-2 Database Machine in the NPRA data center. A second half-rack was acquired for development and testing at another location.

By setting up a private cloud in its data center, managed and monitored by Oracle Cloud Operations, NPRA also solved the problem of data integrity while strengthening compliance with GDPR through automatic security patching.

Simultaneously, NPRA uses Oracle Analytics Cloud, allowing users to spend more time on the analysis of road usage, vehicle and driver license renewals, accidents, driving offenses, vehicle road-worthiness, and safety testing.

By adopting the Oracle Annual Universal Credits payment model, NPRA can better meet public sector directives to operate more cost-effectively. Knowing how many credits are being consumed shows how much the application portfolio uses the database. This leads to enhancing applications to get maximum value out of Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer.

Taking advantage of Oracle’s Universal Credits payment model, NPRA also decided to move its autosys test/development databases to a separate Exadata Cloud@Customer base rack, hosted at Norway’s Basefarm data center.

The agency controls costs by scaling Oracle Exadata during spikes in driver license renewals and other online interactions. Compared to the financial burden of overprovisioning an on-premises machine, it gives the flexibility to rapidly scale up to meet workload peaks and to scale down again. The NPRA pays an hourly rate for peak usage.

Now that the agency is using Oracle Cloud, the organization is looking forward to improving value to customers through further cloud integration.

At the beginning, says Thorbjørnsen, the agency had a tough time selling the solution internally due to security concerns. “Oracle Norway played a key role in helping to convince our legal people that security would in fact be higher in the cloud than previously.”

NPRA is now implementing the Oracle Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance it acquired at the same time as Oracle Exadata Cloud@Customer.

Published:24 May 2021