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U Minnesota Consolidates Databases and Reduces Data Center Footprint

The University of Minnesota has improved the efficiency of its database administration by consolidating database instances, reducing the total by about 90 percent.

At the Educause 2012 conference in Denver this week, Oracle reported that the university has deployed two Oracle Exadata Database Machine half racks, which enabled it to consolidate more than 200 database instances to fewer than 20 and consequently reduce the amount of space required in its data center and cut costs.

U of M operates five campuses with a combined population of 65,000 students and 25,000 employees and uses numerous Oracle solutions to run many of its critical business applications. The company claimed that hosting those applications under a single Oracle Exadata architecture has made it easier for the university to deliver database-wide updates and manage the system. For example, "the university deployed a new database security role for the performance team to all databases in approximately five minutes--a process that would have previously taken weeks," according to Oracle.

Oracle Exadata also provides the university with significantly faster processing speeds, improved disaster recovery, and increased database availability, according to the company. The database administrators can run thousands of queries per second with up to 90 times faster processing speed than the legacy system. The system's disaster recovery capabilities also help ensure the database is available for its thousands of users when they need it, according to the company.

"The Exadata platform has been an enabler for us to reduce our total cost of ownership related to supporting Oracle databases," said Patton Fast, senior director and enterprise architecture for the University of Minnesota, in a prepared statement. "This is because we were able to drive the adoption of best practices and dramatically reduce the amount of infrastructure required."

The university implemented Oracle Exadata over a period of three weeks in May 2011, and it went live with the university's PeopleSoft applications in March 2012.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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