Graniterock Develops Concrete Real-Time Reporting Platform
|Review of: DataMirror Transformation Server from DataMirror Corporation|
REVIEWER: Brad Stimson, Special Projects Manager at Graniterock.
BACKGROUND: Graniterock, based in Watsonville, California, is a heavy engineering contractor and high quality construction materials supplier. Graniterock operates throughout the Monterey Bay and San Francisco Bay areas, including a design center in Cupertino supplying construction building and landscaping materials. Its Pavex Construction Division performs highway or runway expansion projects as well as commercial and residential projects in the region. Graniterock employs 800 people.
PLATFORM: IBM System i.
PROBLEM SOLVED: Approximately eight years ago, we implemented a JD Edwards (JDE) enterprise resource planning system, with all mission-critical accounting, customer and sales data residing on an IBM System i server and hosted in house. Reporting and trend analysis were conducted using Business Objects' Crystal Reports reporting tool and Crystal Enterprise deployment tool, enabling users to conduct and control their own reporting requirements. We needed to have the Crystal Enterprise server physically located close to our data so we wouldn't tie up network traffic whenever we ran reports. We wanted to be able to create reports that combined data from both JDE and the sales system without tying up the network.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: DataMirror Transfor-mation Server pulls mission-critical data out of the JDE-based System i hosted in Seattle and replicates it to a SQL Server-based database in California where users can run reports - all without slowing down the performance of the network. By keeping the reporting data separate from the production data, we have less chance of impacting the production process and thereby slowing down the network. The ability to create custom views and stored procedures within SQL Server has been tremendous. Our employees can create reports that span a range of databases rather than being restricted to JD Edwards data. Transformation Server's easy-to-use GUI makes it simple to select source and target databases and configure transformations. It is easy to deploy and does not require a lot of administration, freeing up our IT folks.
STRENGTHS: Productivity has increased substantially because there is less strain on the production database, especially during heavy reporting periods. In the past, our users were running queries against the production data, which slowed down system performance. But with Transformation Server's log-based change data capture (CDC) technology, changes are captured in real time from database logs rather than using triggers or performing queries against the database. Data changes are captured in the source system as they happen and flow immediately to the target database systems, in real time, keeping distributed information up to date and in sync. Because the data is accurate and always available, we're doing things we weren't ever able to do before. If a user asks for a report, no matter how big a challenge it seems, we are able to find a solution. That has been a real benefit.
WEAKNESSES: Our ASP needed to move our JDE implementation onto another server that had a new operating system, and we were using an OS on System i that wasn't going to be supported by Oracle for much longer. That meant a whole refresh. Transformation Server 4.6 didn't support the new OS so we had to upgrade to v5.3.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We were introduced to DataMirror's Transformation Server solution at a JD Edwards user group conference. We were impressed with DataMirror's leadership role in the real-time data integration space.
DELIVERABLES: We run a variety of reports related to sales, customers, finance and inventory consisting of huge tables. For instance, our general ledger detail table has approximately 12 million records. In the past, that would really drain system performance when we tried to run a report against it. With Transformation Server's complex transformation capability, we can summarize the data, consolidate it in real time and load it into a data warehouse for operational reporting. The result: improved quality, efficient reporting and lower total cost of ownership.
VENDOR SUPPORT: DataMirror's Professional Services team came on site to assist with our server/version migration. They were very knowledgeable and were quick to respond to follow-up questions along the way.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was complete and easy to understand.
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