news Technology giant Oracle has revealed that the specialist insurance arm of local financial services giant Allianz has deployed the vendor’s Oracle Database Appliance X3-2 to replace legacy hardware that was reaching the end of its useful life.
Formerly Mondial Assistance, Allianz Global Assistance is a specialist division of Allianz which delivers insurance and emergency medical assistance solutions to the travel insurance industry, as well as a number of other services such as property assistance services to veterans on behalf of the Government, specialist patient assistance for pharmaceutical companies and so on. It has around 11,000 staff located worldwide.
In a statement released this month, Oracle noted that AGA Australia had purchased the Oracle Database Appliance in April this year, driven by the need to replace end of life hardware that was no longer able to support the company’s complex month end reporting and process transactions. Implementation and support was provided by Oracle partner Dataweave.
The system which the hardware supports, a data warehouse and online transaction processing platform, is quite critical for AGA as it is used to administer the company’s 24/7 emergency medical, travel insurance and roadside assistance service. According to the two companies, the underlying hardware supporting the platform had become aged.
Given the immediate and 24/7 nature of emergency medical assistance AGA Australia provides, a key requirement of the new system was reliability and stability, according to the pair. After the replacement, AGA now has a fully integrated and resilient system of software, servers, storage, and networking in a single box that delivers high-availability database services. Oracle’s statement said the new system was reliable and simple to manage and maintain.
“The Oracle Database Appliance gives us peace of mind,” said Luc Derix, CIO, Allianz Global Assistance Australia. “We support over 180 partner websites, our medical assistance and roadside assistance desks, all of which have to operate 24/7. As you can imagine, for the medical emergency assistance service, the database needs to be up continually so that our staff can find care providers immediately when they get a call that someone has hurt themself. These can be life and death situations and so we require a dependable machine.”
“The Oracle Database Appliance was purpose-built to run databases, which is a perfect fit for our requirement. Setting up, deploying and then supporting the type of redundant infrastructure we were after is complex, time consuming and expensive by the time you buy all the bits and add on the labour. As a pre-built, pre-integrated system, the Oracle Database Appliance overcomes all that.”
The Database Appliance’s four 200 GB solid state disks (SSDs) for database redo logs help ensure the database can deliver the transaction rates required, boosting the performance of AGA Australia’s OLTP system, particularly at peak times. Since implementation, AGA Australia has seen a 50 per cent improvement to its complex month end reporting, according to Oracle. This has made a significant difference to the company, as the majority of AGA Australia’s corporate financial reporting comes from its data warehouse.
In addition, AGA Australia’s actuaries, who are constantly running complex queries against vast amounts of underwriting data for trends and pattern analysis, have seen significant performance improvements. Whereas previously, the system was failing to cope with the query load, in some instances, they have gained up to 10 X performance improvement in the time taken to return query results, Oracle said.
This is as a result of the new system having the latest technology CPUs and disk, and because the Oracle Database Appliance has been engineered and tuned to provide the best possible performance straight ‘out of the box’. The 6TB (triple mirrored) storage capacity of the Oracle Database Appliance system also ensures that AGA Australia has the scale to cope with its predicted data growth.
AGA Australia also deployed Oracle GoldenGate, which provides real-time capture, transformation, routing, and delivery of database transactions across heterogeneous systems, to ensure quick and accurate replication of data between its main OLTP database and its reporting database.
As the Oracle Database Appliance incorporates a “capacity on demand” database software licensing model, AGA Australia has been able to use its existing licences to satisfy current requirements, and can defer purchase of additional licenses until business demand necessitates enabling additional capacity.
Obviously they’re not fit for every purpose, but I’m seeing ongoing deployment in Australia of Oracle’s ‘engineered’ systems in examples like this one, where companies need dense processing systems for specific purposes.