IBM Systems Lab Services

Database migration from Oracle Exadata to IBM Power Systems

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Data is the lifeblood of any organization. We rely on it for day-to-day and minute-to-minute operations, so database availability is essential. Many enterprises also have business, legal and regulatory requirements that mean they must have immediate access to complete and accurate data. This makes it hard to migrate data from one platform to another without taking on risk and cost.

When you need to migrate your database, working with experienced consultants can make a big difference.

IBM Systems Lab Services has successfully migrated multiple-database workloads for many enterprise-class clients. We also help organizations that want to migrate an Oracle database or applications from competing platforms to IBM Power Systems for improved performance and resilience.

Migrating to a more scalable system

An IBM client in the paint and chemical industry was running its mission-critical business on Oracle engineered systems — that is, Exadata hardware — but it was facing challenges with various internal applications due to enormous growth and an aging infrastructure with limited scalability, rising costs and a need for consolidation. Considering its expected future growth, it wanted an easily scalable infrastructure that could address these challenges.

Critical considerations for client were:

  • A system that could scale, therefore eliminating the need to continuously buy more and larger systems
  • Better backup and testing environments — The limited capabilities of the Exadata storage subsystem resulted in no option of offloading the production backup systems or help in quickly implementing new test environments
  • Ability to copy large data sets — In large, 24×7 IT environments, Flash Copy enables data to be used with a variety of applications, supporting many initiatives such as software development, business integration and data analysis
  • A disaster recovery site – For its DR and near DR site, the client had to deploy engineered systems, leading to significant cost increase; though non-engineered systems could be deployed for this purpose, Exadata-specific features can’t be used in the case of DR

The client opted for IBM Power Systems to resolve existing scalability issues, but migration from an engineered system to Power Systems posed various challenges and therefore required detailed planning. The source and target system had different endianness, the amount of time to copy data from the source to the target system was high, and there was potential performance impact due to “proprietary” features of Exadata.

Planning to ensure a smooth migration

Based on the available system resources, downtime requirements and possible migration methods, we opted for an incremental migration method for the client. We tested the migration method multiple times with different parameters to ensure a smooth migration. Finally, when we concluded it was the best migration approach, the production database migration activity was successfully completed.

After successful migration of the database, we faced a few performance issues with respect to specific business operations in the application module. The IBM Systems Lab Services team made adjustments to address the issues and ensure smooth business operations going forward.

Migration success

The database migration was successfully completed. It was performed using traditional supported Oracle methodology and was executed without using any third-party tools. The database availability and performance exceeded client’s expectations and the new solution was able to perform better than Exadata, with improved server utilization during peak month-end business load.

IBM Systems Lab Services offers the proven expertise to help leaders plan, design and implement the essential IT infrastructure for what comes next. Contact us if you have questions about a database migration or other IT infrastructure issue.

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