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Breakpoint refreshes Oracle infrastructure at Stellenbosch University

Breakpoint recently completed a successful Oracle hardware infrastructure refresh project at Stellenbosch University that resulted in a footprint reduction of 84%, and a six-fold performance improvement.

Stellenbosch University, a longstanding Oracle customer, was burdened with ageing Sun Microsystems server and storage equipment in their application and database environments. Breakpoint was tasked to investigate the existing environment and propose an architecture that will protect Stellenbosch University’s application investment and ensure a drastic performance increase, accompanied by the usual provisos of limiting risk and minimising cost, and guaranteeing to serve Stellenbosch’s needs well into the future.

After careful consideration, Breakpoint proposed a solution consisting of Oracle SPARC T4 servers combined with Sun Storage 2500-M2 Storage and Flash technology.

Louwtjie Burger, Breakpoint’s senior presales engineer tasked with the design, remarks: “A total of twelve servers have now been consolidated onto a pair of T4 SPARC servers by making use of Oracle VM Server for SPARC virtualisation technology. This led to a decrease of 45% in the licensable core count, with a direct and very large potential saving in software maintenance costs. By utilising the ground-breaking virtual networking features in Solaris 11, as well as making use of a Flash caching tier, the performance of the featured application and database was improved dramatically.”

More often than not, today’s drive for seemingly cheaper commodity hardware forces customers to rethink their infrastructure approach. However, even with the initial one-dimensional cost savings on offer from x64 architectures, it is wise to consider the total impact of not just hardware, but the greater investment and risk to business. When it comes to the total cost of ownership, not only does the latest T4 architecture from Oracle rival any commodity onslaught, but it provides the basis for what is surely the undeniable leader in business critical operating systems: Solaris. Little wonder that Larry Ellison states: “If it must run, it runs on Solaris.”

“There is no doubt that Oracle hardware and applications are engineered to work together – perform together,” says Johann Kistner, Director of Information Systems at Stellenbosch University. “This results in a marked performance improvement. The payroll run now takes just 9 minutes, as opposed to 54 minutes before the refresh, and the tax and UIF calculation takes 11 minutes as opposed to 43 minutes before the refresh. An even greater improvement is shown on a specific payroll job, which now runs more than 6 times faster, to complete in about 2 hours. I must also commend Breakpoint for the professional manner in which they assessed and investigated our legacy environment, proposed a new architecture that addressed all the key requirements, and successfully completed the migration project without any problems.”

Breakpoint has been a provider of Oracle infrastructure as well as Solaris consulting and services for more than a decade, and has successfully completed multiple complex integration projects throughout Africa.


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