Openworld: BT aims for cost savings with Exadata

BT Operate, which manages telecommunications company BT’s IT and network infrastructure platforms, has revealed that it expects to make significant cost savings from its investment in Oracle’s database appliance Exadata.

The company has bought the appliance and is currently in the process of making the product live.

“The wonderful point is the consolidation into one machine, which saves on heat, light, power, reduces data centre sprawl and saves on cost,” Surren Partabh, CTO of core software technology support and services at BT Operate told Computerworld UK at the Oracle Openworld conference in San Francisco.

BT will initially test the machine by putting two critical systems on Exadata and analysing their performance. However, it does not plan to put all of its systems (which run on more than 60,000 servers) on Exadata.

“With Exadata, you choose what’s really important to you and what you must deploy at optimum speed. So [we will put into Exadata] what is really important to us and gives us the maximum return on investment (ROI),” said Mike Blackmore, BT’s enterprise architect.

Of the new announcements from Openworld this week, Blackmore was particularly interested in the new analytics appliance, Exalytics, which CEO Larry Ellison unveiled earlier this week.

He could see a use for Exalytics anywhere in the business that required analysis “at the speed of thought”.

“For BT, the sheer number of data points you now have coming into the business can seem overwhelming. To drill into that data at speed, with something that is off-the-shelf [would be very useful],” he said.

For example, it could be applied to help BT understand its network and its 60,000 servers to understand what they are all doing at any given time, Blackmore added.

BT currently uses a variety of business intelligence (BI) solutions, including in-house as well as third-party solutions, which it is currently consolidating down to Oracle BI products, namely Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise 11 and 10.

It also uses Oracle’s Enterprise Manager 10g (in the UK) and 11g (in the US), and Partabh said that BT is planning to do carry out a proof-of-concept of the new version of the product, Enterprise Manager 12c.

“I see Enterprise Manager 12c as a very good first step of integration of all the [Oracle-] acquired products.

“After Openworld, we will take a system that has caused us pain in the past – one that has performance issues, crashes, something that doesn’t work because of some underlying technological reason – and use it for proof of concept,” he said.

Such a “troublesome” system might be one used in product development, Partabh suggested, which could be tested on Enterprise Manager to ensure that new products being put into production are reliable.

Meanwhile, with Fusion Applications finally being announced as on general availability, BT also plans to invest in these in the future, alongside its existing applications, These include Oracle E-Business Suite and Siebel software.

“I do envisage BT as being a user of Fusion Applications, hopefully sooner rather than later,” said Blackmore.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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