Many companies rely on Oracle databases to drive their mission-critical services. How can enterprises reduce Oracle license costs while maximizing performance, capacity and business agility?
Service provider itelligence Poland identified IBM® Power Systems™ as the optimal platform for Oracle databases, and created new infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service offerings.
40%reduction in Oracle license costs
95%reduction in time to provision new virtual servers (from 2 days to 2 hours)
5xreduction in latency, accelerating response times to keep customer satisfaction high
Business challenge story
Constant outsourcing evolution
Outsourcing business-critical systems isn’t a decision that companies take lightly. Many organizations have embarked on the journey step by step, rather than taking a leap of faith. Now that cloud services have become more mature, the outsourcing trend has gathered pace, and is increasingly becoming the norm.
This journey is mirrored by the story of logistics provider Raben Group and IT service provider itelligence Poland. In 2010, Raben Group engaged itelligence Poland to host its key business applications, including several based on Oracle databases. Over time, itelligence Poland developed its offerings to include managed Oracle databases, provided as a service. Raben and others migrated to the new service, relying on itelligence Poland to manage the complete Oracle infrastructure.
Tomasz Piętak, Principal Solution Architect at itelligence Poland, explains: “For most customers, the key decision factor is quality of service. For example, to support their logistics services, Raben Group wanted to monitor and manage its systems 24/7, but providing this kind of round-the-clock cover was a constant struggle for its own IT team. Our customers realize that itelligence Poland offers better service levels more cost-effectively than they can achieve using an in-house model.”
As it acquired new clients and as its existing customers’ businesses grew, itelligence Poland saw that keeping Oracle license costs under control was becoming a critical commercial issue. The topic was particularly important for clients like Raben that use the premium Oracle Enterprise Edition, which carries a higher price tag and greater licensing restrictions. If itelligence Poland could find a way to cut licensing costs, yet continue to provide optimal system capacity and performance, it stood to wield significant competitive advantage over other IT service providers.
Creating the model for success
itelligence Poland prepared a detailed Proof of Concept based on IBM Power Systems servers running Oracle databases. Rather than deploying dedicated hardware for each customer, itelligence Poland planned to assign compute, memory, network and storage capacity on a flexible basis from pooled, virtualized resources. itelligence Poland created a new platform capable of hosting multiple independent environments, each of which can be configured to balance performance and the Oracle license costs. For help on the deployment, itelligence Poland engaged IBM Systems Lab Services.
Tomasz Piętak comments, “The Proof of Concept demonstrated that IBM Power Systems offered the most cost-effective platform for running Oracle databases. Oracle Enterprise Edition licensing fees are calculated based on the number of processors, and IBM Power Systems uses significantly fewer processors to run Oracle solutions than x86 platforms, because the platform features a multiple shared processor pool. Therefore, assigning fewer IBM POWER8 processors and changing the way we use the licenses enables us to reduce Oracle license costs by up to 40 percent, while still delivering higher system performance. The huge license cost savings from moving to IBM Power Systems easily justify the migration from another platform.”
Today, itelligence Poland has deployed a total of eleven IBM Power Systems servers, with a combined total of almost 1,000 processor cores and some 40 TB of memory. itelligence Poland purchased the servers through a five-year contract arranged by IBM Global Financing, paid in flat monthly installments.
The servers are virtualized using IBM PowerVM® technologies, which allows itelligence Poland to build tailored virtual servers for each customer, with the optimal number of processors – even fractions of processors – and main memory to deliver the best performance while minimizing license costs.
With IBM PowerVM virtualization, itelligence Poland can securely share each physical IBM Power Systems server’s resources between multiple customers. For ultimate flexibility, itelligence Poland uses Live Partition Mobility to move customer systems seamlessly from one physical machine to another without disrupting users, even during live operations. The same feature enables itelligence Poland to offer continuous service to its customers, as well as distribute workloads to optimize performance and utilization, even during hardware maintenance windows.
To make its fees even more competitive, itelligence Poland didn’t stop at reducing Oracle licensing costs; it also searched for other ways to cut total cost of ownership. To shrink administrative overhead, itelligence Poland has largely automated system management tasks and provisioning of new virtual machines, by using IBM PowerVC. The software provides advanced virtualization and cloud management for IBM AIX® and many other virtual machine types running on IBM Power Systems, designed to improve administration productivity. For example, automation from IBM PowerVC has cut the time to provision new client systems from two days to just a few hours.
To provide storage capacity, itelligence Poland uses state-of-the-art IBM FlashSystem solutions, offering more than 200 TB capacity, virtualized using IBM Spectrum Virtualize™. Ireneusz Pelka, IBM PowerVM Expert at itelligence Poland, comments, “With IBM FlashSystem storage, we have been able to cut latency from 3-5 milliseconds to less than 1 millisecond, helping to keep response times low for customers, with very high IOPS performance. Ultimately, the capabilities of IBM flash storage means that we can offer customers greater performance at the same, or perhaps reduced, fees.”
Reaching out to new opportunities
Initially, itelligence Poland hosted customer-owned servers and later ran its own servers to host customer services. Now, with the fully virtualized IBM Power Systems landscape and IBM FlashSystem in place, itelligence Poland is transforming its own business model by creating infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings.
The IaaS and PaaS solutions create entirely new opportunities for itelligence Poland and for its customers. For the IaaS and PaaS offerings, itelligence Poland takes complete responsibility for managing the infrastructure, including the operating system, database, network and storage. In this role, itelligence Poland becomes the trusted advisor to its customers, helping them to focus on application development and business goals.
Tomasz Piętak comments: “We had very positive experiences running infrastructure-as-a-service based on IBM Power Systems for our valued client Raben. Raben is one of the largest logistics companies in Poland, so the company requires excellent performance and stability of key applications. Based on this positive experience, we now recommend infrastructure-as-a-service based on IBM Power Systems to all our clients who require maximum availability and performance.”
By harnessing powerful virtualization from IBM PowerVM, itelligence Poland supports a greater number of customers with lower capital investment. Additionally, the automated system management and provisioning services provided by IBM PowerVC help reduce administrative workloads, allowing the itelligence Poland team to devote more energy to value-added tasks. By shrinking the management overhead, itelligence Poland can reduce the need to hire additional personnel as it acquires new customers. itelligence Poland then passes this saving on to its clients in the form of ultra-competitive hosting fees.
Tomasz Piętak concludes: “IBM Power Systems and IBM FlashSystem enable us to create transformative new cloud offerings that reach out to new markets. For example, customers who wish to run Oracle databases but do not have the in-house technical capability can use our cloud IaaS and PaaS services at reduced cost and risk. Particularly for customers with smaller compute requirements, we can offer start-small instances with the ability to scale up very rapidly, as a true cloud provision.
“With IBM Power Systems, itelligence Poland can reach out into new markets with cloud services, and move into the higher-value cloud services market. With IBM Power Systems, itelligence Poland was able to cut customers’ Oracle licensing costs by up to 40 percent, while providing the same or improved system performance.”
itelligence is a leading international full-service provider focusing on SAP deployments, offering consulting, licensing, application management services, hosting services and proprietary industry solutions. itelligence employs around 7,000 people in 25 countries. In 2017, itelligence generated total sales of EUR 872.2 million.
itelligence Poland’s Polish subsidiary – itelligence Poland Sp. z o.o. – is a trusted IT partner in digital transformation and employs more than 200 people across five locations. The company has been awarded with a Customer Friendly Company certificate and a Quality International Award.