NSW Health reveals huge Oracle platform rollout



news The shared services division of NSW Health this week revealed it had deployed a massive implementation of Oracle’s hardware and software systems in an effort to support its human resources and payroll functions, with the agency using Oracle products from its E-Business suite to hardware systems such as the vendor’s Exalogic and Exadata systems.

HealthShare NSW is a major organisation within the NSW Government which was established back in 2007 to deliver more efficient support services for NSW Health. It has some 6,000 staff of its own, but also supports 140,000 NSW Health staff in hospitals and other health facilities across the state, providing functions such as procurement and logistics, human resources and financial administration and so on.

In a statement published earlier this week, Oracle revealed that HealthShare had recently consolidated its enterprise resource planning systems to support HR, payroll, financial and procurement functions, deploying Oracle’s E-Business Suite and the company’s Human Capital Management solution to some 129,000 staff, with another 11,000 still to go.

Oracle’s Engineered Systems, including Oracle Exadata Database Machines and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, have been chosen as the hardware infrastructure due to what the vendor said was their high performance and the ability to process payroll data in around a quarter of the time presently possible with “legacy” hardware.

According to Oracle, key criteria for the new infrastructure included the need to drive increased performance and scalability, standardisation and the ability to provision for future growth. HealthShare NSW identified a direct connection, Oracle said, between the ability to reduce data processing times and increased efficiency of service centre operations and associated costs; faster processing drives costs down.

Oracle Engineered Systems were chosen for their demonstrated ability to deliver a 6-8 times performance improvement over the current platform. During a Proof of Concept (POC), HealthShare NSW found that Oracle Exadata was able to perform a given process twice as fast as its nearest competitor, Oracle said.

HealthShare NSW also intends to improve agility, cut costs, and improve service levels by utilising the Oracle Exadata platform as the foundation for a Database-as-a-Service solution. The solution provides “a consolidated, consistent database”, thus reducing HealthShare NSW’s dependence on the need for specialised database administration skills.

HealthShare’s refresh program requirements also called for a new state-wide identity management system. HealthShare NSW selected Oracle Identity Management to enable single sign-on for all NSW Health staff.

The applications are underpinned by Oracle Enterprise Manager 12C, which helps enable HealthShare NSW to provision solutions quickly, thus orchestrating deployment and “supporting deep integration into the E-Business suite software”. In addition, elements of Oracle’s middleware portfolio will be used to help streamline the deployment, provisioning and ongoing management of HealthShare’s enterprise applications. Oracle SOA Suite in conjunction with Oracle WebLogic Server will help HealthShare NSW simplify its current and future application integration requirements enabling it to “reduce risk around application deployment, speed time to market and respond to business requirements”.

Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage Appliance plays a role in delivering application and database data across all Healthshare datacentres, providing HealthShare NSW enterprise-class storage capabilities with Oracle integration, high performance, efficiency, simplified management and what Oracle said was “low total cost of ownership”. Integrated with Exalogic and Exadata engineered systems, the ZFS Storage Appliance uses InfiniBand to perform high speed application and database backups and restores.

The Oracle Engineered Systems platform will be established in the new whole of government datacentres being established in NSW at the moment, with applications migration planned for late 2013, and full production status planned in 2014.

“This initiative will provide a significant increase in capacity for NSW Health to support Australia’s largest corporate program in Government” commented HealthShare chief information officer Greg Wells. Added HealthShare chief executive Mike Rillstone: “NSW Health with HealthShare NSW seeks to provide high-quality future state shared services to support the delivery of patient care within the state’s health system. This project, which includes the implementation of the most efficient technologies, is in keeping with the department’s sustainable business solution approach and helps to ensure ongoing improvement, increasing levels of efficiency and greater savings for NSW Health.

As I wrote in a previous article about Oracle:

“When most vendors publish customer case studies, they typically will do so to highlight the strengths of a particular product line. Not so with Oracle. It seems that once you start talking to Oracle about one of the company’s products, you will often end up talking about (and buying) more. Eventually, it seems, many companies have ended up using multiple pieces of Oracle infrastructure throughout their business.

Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t downsides to becoming a core Oracle customer. The company’s lock-in and price headaches are legendary within the industry, and despite buying Sun Microsystems and picking up MySQL along with it over the past few years, “open” is still not a core Oracle concept. I’m sure Gartner has about a billion reports you can buy on how to mitigate these sorts of issues when dealing with Larry Ellison’s giant creation.”

Image credit: Oracle, Creative Commons


  1. Interesting – purchasing a software and hardware stack where the hardware stack cost oracle millions in losses and may be culled and where there is also now a move from within Oracle to get back into bed with other tier1 hardware providers which undermines the value of there own Oracle hardware……

    must have been a dam good vendor review process somewhere off shore!

  2. From what I’ve heard NSW Health had to upgrade to Exadata because the performance on the Payroll data reporting is so bad they’ve had to throw more processing power at the problem.

    That’s an expensive solution for a something that most HW vendors could also do at a fraction of the cost.

Comments are closed.