Utility Uses Private Cloud Solution and Improves Business Performance and ROI
Yarra Valley Water (YVW) has implemented an Oracle Engineered Systems infrastructure to provide a standardized IT architecture aimed at helping the utility to improve ERP system performance, achieve a better ROI and enhance customer service.
Owned by the Victorian State Government, YVW is the largest of Melbourne’s three water retail businesses. It provides water supply and sewerage services to over 1.7 million people and over 50,000 businesses in Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs, including some recycled water and trade waste customers.
The water provider is using Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, the world’s first engineered system for running business applications and the Oracle Exadata Database Machine, to consolidate its core systems and run its Oracle software. This includes Oracle Utilities Customer Care & Billing, which helps YVW manage 700,000 customer accounts, as well as Oracle’s Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g, Oracle WebCenter and Oracle WebCenter Content for its website and intranet portal.
“Oracle Exalogic was attractive to us because it allowed us to focus more on the business applications than the technology and infrastructure, and reduced the need for us to be in the hardware game. We now only have two paired boxes to manage, rather than 12 disparate pieces of infrastructure requiring different skills sets – our boxes look lonely! Because the systems are engineered to work together it is a very efficient way to implement IT – it takes most of the design work out – and we are definitely seeing the benefits of running Oracle software on Oracle hardware. We are very happy with the results, and will further develop our private cloud strategy around the Oracle platform,” said Leigh Berrell, CIO, Yarra Valley Water.
Significant performance gains have been achieved. The deployment of Oracle Exalogic for YVW’s business critical billing and customer management application has helped with reduced application response times from up-to-nine seconds to sub seconds.
“Yarra Valley Water underlines the value proposition of our Engineered Systems – not only as standalone solutions, but as tightly integrated and optimized components in the data center that allow our customers to embark on their private cloud strategy while reducing cost and improving performance through better hardware/software integration, from application to disk,” concluded Robert Wickham, head of Oracle Exadata and Strategic Solutions, Oracle Australia and New Zealand.
In the data center, as a result of the use of Oracle Exadata, regular overnight re-indexing of the data warehouse, which previously took 8 hours, now takes around one hour; and a complete re-indexing/re-build, which covers six applications, now takes around 3.5 hours instead of 24 hours. This was assisted by moving it onto the new platform, with no code change required, helping translate into a significantly lower cost of ownership for YVW, and eliminating the need for onsite management overnight.
Also planned to go live in the first half of 2013 is an “Easy Access” Portal for use by land developers and consultants. This will provide them with a personalized one-stop-shop for information, from which they can make online requests for authorization to proceed with land developments on parcels of land or to request that YVW provision infrastructure and services to those properties. The portal is being built with Oracle WebCenter Portal, Oracle Application Development Framework, Oracle Business Process Management (BPM) Suite and Oracle Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Suite.
The move to Oracle infrastructure followed a review of its aging hardware systems and subsequent decision to in-source its IT systems from a managed service provider in order to better support its enterprise and mission critical applications. By deploying the Oracle infrastructure as a private cloud managed by Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, YVW is also assisted in achieving greater business agility. By adopting a cloud platform, the utility can commission and decommission test and development environments quickly and easily, and scale them up or back as required in the data center.
Yarra Valley Water went live with Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata in May 2012, coinciding with an upgrade of the Oracle Utilities Customer Care & Billing and Oracle Business Intelligence systems. The purchase of the Engineered Systems platform was made in December 2011. Other elements of YVW’s private cloud platform include Oracle Identity Management, Oracle WebLogic Suite and built-in virtualization with Oracle VM.
“There is nothing else quite like Oracle’s Engineered Systems that I know of, for a start, we were amazed by the installation time. We placed the order at Christmas, had the boxes on the floor in January, and had them racked, cabled, installed and applications into development and testing within a month. By May we had Oracle Customer Care and Billing live and in production and that also included an upgrade to that application. Within two weeks we had all the performance and stability issues fixed. Now IT can deliver a much higher quality of service to the business. We were finding we were spending more time trying to actually manage the technology stack than trying to actually solve business problems. Now we can get back to focusing on business activities and business functions rather than keeping the engine room, effectively, just running,” said Ramesh Subramaniam, Chief Architect, Yarra Valley Water.