Smart water: It's not just about meters. You need to modernize your IT backbone too

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By Jesse Berst

 

Quick Take: Almost all of the early talk about smart water has been about smart meters and smart networks. But as implied by the press release on page 2 from Oracle, many water utilities need to modernize their IT operation every bit as badly as their physical infrastructure.

 

Austin Energy provides a useful example from the electric space. When it decided to modernize its grid, it first installed an enterprise architecture throughout the company. Then and only then did it start layering in smart grid applications. And it was very careful to make sure all those apps conformed to their enterprise architecture.

 

In this case, Melbourne's largest water business is moving its core operations to the cloud, which imposes a standardized IT architecture as a bonus. Whether you install your own enterprise architecture or "rent" one via the cloud, you should not go down the smart water path without this essential foundation.

Yarra Valley Water Uses Oracle Engineered Systems for Mission Critical Business Applications To Help Improve Business Performance

Utility Uses Private Cloud Solution and Improves Business Performance and ROI

Redwood Shores, Calif. – March 11, 2013

News Facts

Yarra Valley Water (YVW) has implemented an Oracle Engineered Systems infrastructure to provide a standardized IT architecture aimed at helping the utility to improve business systems performance, achieve a better ROI and enhance customer service.

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Owned by the Victorian State Government, YVW is the largest of Melbourne’s three water retail businesses. It provides water supply and sewerage services to over 1.7 million people and over 50,000 businesses in Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs, including some recycled water and trade waste customers.

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The water provider is using

Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, the world’s first engineered system for running business applications and the

Oracle Exadata Database Machine, to consolidate its core systems and run its Oracle software. This includes Oracle Utilities Customer Care & Billing, which helps YVW manage 700,000 customer accounts, as well as

Oracle’s Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management,

Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g,

Oracle WebCenter and

Oracle WebCenter Content for its website and intranet portal.

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Significant performance gains have been achieved. The deployment of Oracle Exalogic for YVW’s business critical billing and customer management application has helped with reduced application response times from up-to-nine seconds to sub seconds.

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In the data center, as a result of the use of Oracle Exadata, regular overnight re-indexing of the data warehouse, which previously took 8 hours, now takes around one hour; and a complete re-indexing/re-build, which covers six applications, now takes around 3.5 hours instead of 24 hours. This was assisted by moving it onto the new platform, with no code change required, helping translate into a significantly lower cost of ownership for YVW, and eliminating the need for onsite management overnight.

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Also planned to go live in the first half of 2013 is an “Easy Access” Portal for use by land developers and consultants. This will provide them with a personalized one-stop-shop for information, from which they can make online requests for authorization to proceed with land developments on parcels of land or to request that YVW provision infrastructure and services to those properties. The portal is being built with

Oracle WebCenter Portal,

Oracle Application Development Framework,

Oracle Business Process Management (BPM) Suite and

Oracle Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Suite.

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The move to Oracle infrastructure followed a review of its aging hardware systems and subsequent decision to in-source its IT systems from a managed service provider in order to better support its enterprise and mission critical applications..

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By deploying the Oracle infrastructure as a private cloud managed by

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c, YVW is also assisted in achieving greater business agility. By adopting a cloud platform, the utility can commission and decommission test and development environments quickly and easily, and scale them up or back as required in the data center.

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Yarra Valley Water went live with Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata in May 2012, coinciding with an upgrade of the Oracle Utilities Customer Care & Billing and Oracle Business Intelligence systems. The purchase of the Engineered Systems platform was made in December 2011. Other elements of YVW’s private cloud platform include

Oracle Identity Management,

Oracle WebLogic Suite and built-in virtualization with

Oracle VM.

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Supporting Quotes

“There is nothing else quite like Oracle’s Engineered Systems that I know of, for a start, we were amazed by the installation time. We placed the order at Christmas, had the boxes on the floor in January, and had them racked, cabled, installed and applications into development and testing within a month. By May we had Oracle Customer Care and Billing live and in production and that also included an upgrade to that application. Within two weeks we had all the performance and stability issues fixed. Now IT can deliver a much higher quality of service to the business. We were finding we were spending more time trying to actually manage the technology stack than trying to actually solve business problems. Now we can get back to focussing on business activities and business functions rather than keeping the engine room, effectively, just running,” said Ramesh Subramaniam, Chief Architect, Yarra Valley Water.

“Oracle Exalogic was attractive to us because it allowed us to focus more on the business applications than the technology and infrastructure, and reduced the need for us to be in the hardware game. We now only have two paired boxes to manage, rather than 12 disparate pieces of infrastructure requiring different skills sets – our boxes look lonely! Because the systems are engineered to work together it is a very efficient way to implement IT - it takes most of the design work out – and we are definitely seeing the benefits of running Oracle software on Oracle hardware. We are very happy with the results, and will further develop our private cloud strategy around the Oracle platform,” said Leigh Berrell, CIO, Yarra Valley Water.

“Yarra Valley Water underlines the value proposition of our Engineered Systems – not only as standalone solutions, but as tightly integrated and optimized components in the data center that allow our customers to embark on their private cloud strategy while reducing cost and improving performance through better hardware/software integration, from application to disk,” concluded

Robert Wickham, head of Oracle Exadata and Strategic Solutions, Oracle Australia and New Zealand.

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Supporting Resources

To read a full case study, click

here.

The following videos of YVW’s use of its various Oracle solutions can also be seen:

Streamlines IT Practices with Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata

Boosts Performance / Streamlines Resources for YVW

Improves Call Handling Times with Oracle Exalogic and Oracle Exadata

Exalogic, Oracle Exadata Strategic Platform for YVW

Uses Oracle SOA and BPM for Orchestration / Re-use / Visibility

Implements Easy Access Portal with Oracle WebCenter

Provides YVW Visibility for Better Decision Making

Uses Oracle Identity and Access Management

Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud

Oracle Exadata Database Machine

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c

Oracle WebLogic Suite 12c

Oracle Utilities Customer Care & Billing

Oracle Business Intelligence

Oracle’s Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management

Oracle Service Oriented Architecture

Oracle WebCenter

Oracle WebCenter Content

Oracle VM

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About Oracle Exalogic

Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud is a superfast engineered system designed, optimized and certified for running Java, Oracle and non-Oracle business applications with simplified management, open standards compliance and one-stop support. It provides customers the best choice for extreme data center performance, reliability and scalability, and enables a lower total cost of ownership and faster time to market.

About Oracle Exadata

The Oracle Exadata Database Machine is the only database machine that provides extreme performance for both data warehousing and online transaction processing (OLTP) applications, making it the ideal platform for consolidating onto grids or private clouds. It is a complete package of servers, storage, networking, and software that is massively scalable, secure, and redundant. With Oracle Exadata Database Machine, customers can reduce IT costs through consolidation, manage more data on multiple compression tiers, improve performance of all applications, and make better business decisions in real time.

About Oracle

Oracle engineers hardware and software to work together in the cloud and in your data center. For more information about Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), visit

www.oracle.com.

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