What is our primary use case?
The areas we use for this product for is centralizing the collection of hospital data. In Saudi Arabia there are five special hospitals and each branch there is a local facility for data entry. Users enter data in the local database in their branches and the data is collected in a centralized database that is also in Saudi Arabia. These tools use criteria to identify cases that are similar in different hospital branches to help in diagnosis and treatment.
I am working on this project to serve as the administrator for the database. Before this, I joined a lot of projects, sometimes part-time, in Cairo and I gained 18 years of experience working on databases in the maritime ports in Arab countries and in hospitals in Arab countries, in Cairo, in Egypt, in Iraq, in parts of Spain and around the Arabian Sea. My primary responsibility is to make centralized data available.
What is most valuable?
I signed with Oracle to use GoldenGate for this project five months ago. I needed two or three months just to explore GoldenGate to get to know it and the features. There are many awesome features in GoldenGate and from what I see in the case studies, I need some more months of discovery to know what I think are the most valuable features. If you call me a month from now, I will be able to answer the question as to which of the excellent features are the most valuable. Right now it would be that I have confidence that GoldenGate can handle this extensive project.
What needs improvement?
I use an on-premises installation of GoldenGate — a standard GoldenGate installation — to do our test deployment for our projects. Part of the Oracle solution that needs some improvement is the ability to test features extensively before purchase and deployment. I am from Egypt and the economy is not so good. To create proper test environments for complex enterprise deployments is very expensive. Right now there is no place in Egypt that has enough servers to provide a proper test environment for a large deployment like the one we have planned. I do my best to do the test here with what I have.
It is a poor model to test all the GoldenGate features in an improper environment because a valid test of the features of GoldenGate may require a huge investment in accessories like memory and processors. I still need to do the testing. I need to write the code to test out the deployment without a proper environment and without using some features that may be valuable in achieving our goals. I am going to join a project to perform testing with Oracle Exadata in hopes to have free equipment to test this with. In this way, I hope to have a good enough environment to test the product. The project will be huge will be much larger in the future.
It could be that I will find I need to test out the cloud as a potential solution. I think I need one month or two months to decide what is the solution. But assistance from Oracle in temporary testing facilities would be useful and create the opportunity for investment.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using the product for about five months.
How are customer service and technical support?
I have a lot of experience with Oracle technical support. The technical support in Egypt is not responsive. When I have encountered issues they waste time in gathering unnecessary information. They send me a program, to export some files so they can look into the problem. This is a big waste of time and an unnecessary delay.
One or two days they are saying they are working on this case. While they are doing this I do my best to solve the problem on my own and search the Oracle Mechanic and Google. I raise the severity to the top, and nothing happens faster. The user suffers the consequence of inefficient support. I spent money on support and on my own I find out this issue is already a known issue and I apply the solution myself before they get back to me. They have the price I paid for support, and I provide my own solutions.
How was the initial setup?
I think that the installation of this product is very straightforward. I am sure I will encounter some problems and other issues because I installed a sample configuration of GoldenGate. This is a sample project where I have installed a huge database. It gives me the opportunity to encounter some problems and issues. I hope that I do not see any problems, but I am pretty sure I will experience some things that will go wrong.
The installation of Oracle's GoldenGate is fairly different from other similar applications. It is straightforward but at the same time more difficult. I think that is partly because other solutions will have about one-quarter of the features when compared to GoldenGate.
What about the implementation team?
I have completed the installations myself.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The pricing is done on a yearly basis. They have additional packages for technical support.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I have had the opportunity to use many products working for 18 years with databases. The list would be long if I tried to name the other products that I worked with. For this project, I suggested directly going to use Oracle products to create a solution because my experience says that it is the best way to do it. With some solutions, it would only be possible to join two modems at the maximum. We needed something more robust and to me, it was obvious that out of everything Oracle was the best.
What other advice do I have?
My opinion of GoldenGate is that it is an improvement over earlier Oracle products. I think that the interface for GoldenGate is very user-friendly. I recommend that people support the use of Oracle GoldenGate and have made this opinion known to colleagues in Egypt who are responsible for team projects.
On a scale from one to ten — one being the worst and ten being the best — I would grade Oracle GoldenGate as a nine right now. After one or two more months working with the product, maybe the nine would be ten. It could be ten right now because I haven't faced any problems. This tool and Oracle's reputation speak for themselves. I don't need to complicate the issues by involving and a big problem I had in the past. But if I need a real reason why it should not be a ten and a nine is justified, I need Oracle to improve its support in Egypt. This is a genuine issue that is ongoing.