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Guest Insight: Knowing when to jump to 'extreme performance' mode

Christopher G Chelliah | Sept. 18, 2013
Oracle Asia Pacific's Christopher G. Chelliah says companies changing into 'extreme performance' operations need to make better use of information in daily operations.

Chris Chelliah-Oracle Asia Pac modified 

Photo -Christopher G. Chelliah, Vice President, Exadata and Strategic Solutions, Oracle Asia Pacific


To know when extreme performance is required for business operation, it's important for the company to understand what defines "extreme business performance". It is about a company that has reshaped its pace to do business more competitively, and when the company's knowledge workers and front-line service staff can leverage critical business data to speed service and product delivery and to align the IT spending in a way that helps the business moving rather than burdens it.

Today, probably 95 percent of companies are all chasing the same thing which is about operational streamlining and reducing costs on running basic data centre operations. They are attempting to transform IT into a competitive differentiator to benefit their bottom lines. Yet they are not quite at the point where they are talking about transforming the business through IT.

To evolve into an extreme performance business organisation, companies must make better use of information as it moves through its daily operations, which demands a radical rethinking of traditional data warehousing and transaction processing.


The first obstacle that most companies face in achieving extreme performance is the ongoing attempt to effectively identify and leverage mission-critical information assets when data volumes continue to grow exponentially.

Companies are collecting more and more information which are required to store it for longer periods, and to provide access to more users. The increased volume of data and more users drive up the total requests which severely strain system performance or sacrifices are made regarding just how much historical data can remain active.

The second challenge lies in ensuring that decisions are made based on the most up-to-date information and that the data used to support those decisions is complete and consistent. Results based on incomplete or inconsistent data will never help any company be faster, better or more innovative.

Thirdly, companies want to deploy a streamlined approach to drive the delivery of the most-recently changed data between online transaction processing (OLTP) systems and the data warehouse.

Overcoming the challenges

Many companies held back from IT infrastructure and architectural transformation because they are too focused on existing obstacles, rather than on the opportunities presented by the ability to process and analyse data as soon as it arrives. To be substantively different from others in the respective industry, the company has to envision a change.

To achieve an extreme performance, enterprise requires an evolution in data management technologies. A forward-thinking company should consider integrating purpose-built and highly-engineered systems that feature innovative technologies to improve application and database performance. Its architectural advantages include:

a) An intelligent storage layer that handles data-intensive query processing, and avoids the need to move large amounts of data to improve performance and concurrency of both simple and complex queries.
b) Hybrid columnar compression for data storage that drives savings in spending on storage arrays, speeding scan query performance during typical data warehouse queries, and enabling IT to forego moving historical data to tape, where it is no longer directly accessible by the application, taking a toll on fast-paced business requirements.
c) Smart flash cache that drives ultra low latency movement of hot data while disk storage provides economical yet still efficient access to less frequently-required information.
d) Multi-version read consistency which guarantees a user will always see a consistent view of the data requested.

This new level of technology enabled by purpose-built and highly-engineered systems ensures extreme-performance for enterprise today. High availability of both OLTP and data warehousing enable the business analyst to ask new questions that lead to more probing questions and ultimately superior insight. This means reports are processed and distributed more quickly, enabling more informed decisions to be made around offering new revenue-generating efforts or architecting competitive differentiation. And front-line workers can quickly gain access to a customer solution based on assessments of historical information.

On a bigger picture, better customer service that builds loyalty and breeds recommendations not only spurs profits now, but those profits help make more funds available for developing new products, completing acquisitions, and even attracting more talented staffers-all of which can contribute to a cycle of innovation and ongoing organisational growth.

- Christopher G Chelliah is Vice President, Exadata and Strategic Solutions, Oracle Asia Pacific.


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