Oracle Coherence Review

It enables our customers to pay their bills and view their usage. Initial setup is complex and it's too expensive for small businesses.

What is most valuable?

Oracle Coherence enables our customers to pay their bills and view their usage and all other kinds of information. We use Oracle’s Customer Care & Billing (CC&B) for managing all billing data. Our business customers use it to manage hundreds of accounts.

Mobile devices need to load faster. Coherence lets us retrieve data from the CC&B and the database, build a full user profile, and store this information in the session in Coherence. With this, you do not need the back-end system anymore. After the first login, the site loads faster because it does not need to go to the back end.

We have about 10 servers so that all 10 servers are used for load balancing. If I pay the bill, this information gets passed from one server to the next with Oracle synchronizing the data between servers. I can perform different actions on the same account. That information is handled by different servers, but Oracle synchronizes the data.

The product quality is good. It is stable and easy to use; and increasingly flexible when you scale up.

How has it helped my organization?

Oracle Coherence improved site performance and the customer experience. Customers don’t want to see that the site is too slow or that there are breaks in transactions. They want faster access, especially for mobile devices. For people with network bandwidth and a data plan, it has to be faster.

What needs improvement?

It is alright now. It is a heavyweight. It would be good if it could be made more lightweight, and could be more easily installed in a local environment, and made easier to use later on, in the open source.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's quite stable. Ever since I started using it, for the past year, we only had to restart that product one time.

Coherence was not originally an Oracle product. Oracle bought it and made it more mature. They made it enterprise-wide; and it’s good. They also made it a bit pricier. We were using an EH cache open source, which actually wasn’t performing that well. We had to do a lot of restarting and troubleshooting. But now with Coherence, it's quite stable. Because we are an Oracle vendor, we have a license.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

For scalability, it is basically the JVM. If you want to scale up, it is just a matter of adding a JVM. It can scale horizontally, and it can scale vertically. If you want to add 10 servers, just add a JVM. Right now, we have our own 14 instances.

We have a grid for JVM installations, so if we want to use the 10 servers, and other people also want to use them, they are likely to build something. It can be scalable.

How is customer service and technical support?

Oracle technical support has multiple support levels: with platinum and gold plans. We got the platinum support, because we are at Oracle shop rates. They come and always work with us; and they sold us many of the Oracle products. For any small thing, if we are not getting attention, and we need immediate support, we can invite support people to come in onboard; and they will do it for us.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We did research on all the open source products, and we initially applied the solution with EH cache. That was pretty good. When we wanted to scale higher, to about six million users, it wasn’t going to work. We don’t care about the expense because Oracle is our partner, and more. If you are a small business that cannot afford million-dollar products, you would go for an EH cache. We can afford a million-dollar product, so we are doing that.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is not exactly easy. At first, it is a little complicated. Once you do it, and stabilize the solution, it is good. People who are know these kinds of things can do it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is very expensive. It might not work well for small business people.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did research on all the open source products.

What other advice do I have?

To a similar client looking for advice, I’d say that this is a great product, but you need to pay the price for it. If you are willing to pay the price, you will be satisfied with the product quality. It has more than what you need.

At the enterprise level, if you have all your own data center, Oracle, Coherence, and if you are willing to spend that much money, Oracle is great.

But if you are a small business, going with open source, there are a lot of things available. EH cache is the most popular open source thing with its caching mechanism. That worked well for us on a smaller scale. You need to determine whether that’s going to work for you.

There are multiple products out there. The main determining factors are whether you want to have a local or distributed cache; and whether you want to use it in the Cloud or locally. If you are using it in the Cloud, you can explore multiple options. If you’re use Oracle, they are going to advise you. You are going to need to plan out and implement the caching and system customizations.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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