The most valuable feature would be Smart Scan because it gives us the ability to perform a large amount of processing on the storage side, cutting down on I/O tremendously. That's one of the big features that really drew us into jumping on Exadata.
We also like having the ability to have a lot of flash storage where a lot of our data can be in-memory, which speeds up transactions and processing.
Improvements to My Organization
As with any organization, before we embark on anything, we have to look at the ROI as well as the ability of a particular tool. Exadata helps us to consolidate and manage our databases as one with much faster processing. This, of course, is the key in speeding up our ability to do work and provide customer service. We're a mutual fund company, so speed is really key in providing satisfactory customer service. Exadata really gives us the key factors from an IT perspective, which are performance and availability.
Room for Improvement
There's a lot with Exadata that can be done on a black-box level which depends entirely on what the vendor is able to do for you, which is good from a certain perspective. But we hope, as this technology matures, Oracle allows customers to have a little more hands-on customization of some certain elements to better suit their environments. So we're looking forward to the ability to do greater customizations to suit our business needs.
Deployment wasn't difficult and we had no issues with it. Oracle had a bad rap in the past with customers who had bigger systems. They didn't provide them with enough assistance in order to assimilate new products and tools. But now, they've done a pretty good job of creating a very thorough cookbook, which has helped a lot with issues they we and my peers at other companies have had. Some of the issues was in the way we set up our enterprises which made it difficult to bring in and assimilate new products, but Oracle has lately done a good job of smoothing that out.
Exadata has been a very stable product once configured properly. We've had no issues with instability.
It's scaled to our needs.
Customer Service and Technical Support
We have premier-level technical support, so we have a pretty good relationship with them.
I would describe the initial setup as being of medium complexity. We're a financial insurance company, so we always want to put in a lot of rigor, in terms of security and compliance. At times, it's not our own fault, but it's our devices, but at the same time, the price of being exploited is bigger than what it takes to ensure security and compliance. The issue has been really more of the rigor that we put in ourselves, and finding a way to allow those new products and solutions to work as they were expected through our hardening that we've done on our environment.
We want to stay at the front of the cutting edge, and we evaluate and realize that the benefit, the return on investment that Exadata brings for a company of our magnitude and size, is tremendous. We've exploited Exadata, and it's performed very well for us.