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Cerner Corporate IT’s PeopleSoft Team and CernerWorks Abilities Center Accelerate Data Protection and Cloning Times for Large Oracle Databases

Use Case #1: PeopleSoft

Challenges: Needed multiple copies of a 7 TB Oracle DB, but backup times (1.5 hrs), refresh times (5-6 hrs) and storage costs were high.

Solution: Use Actifio to reduce backup times (18 mins), refresh times (45 mins) and storage costs by 80%.

Actifio drastically reduced backup times to 18 mins, refresh times to 45 mins and storage costs by 80%

Run by Service Operations within the Shared Services Engineering organization, the PeopleSoft team focuses on delivering operational excellence for enterprise applications and IT shared services on which Cerner associates and clients around the globe rely. The team struggled with creating multiple copies of a 7 TB Oracle database running on Oracle Exadata. Backup times, which were required to create up-to-date copies of the production database, only took 1.5 hours to complete.

However, the refresh times took 5-6 hours and storage costs for multiple physical copies of this 7 TB Oracle database became excessive. The team used Actifio to drastically reduce backup times to 18 mins, refresh times to 45 mins and storage costs by 80%.

Use Case #2: Abilities Center

Challenges: Very long backup (20 hrs) and provisioning times (48 hrs) for a 65 TB Oracle DB.

Solution: Use Actifio to reduce backup and provisioning times to 17 minutes total.

Actifio increased database cloning performance for the Abilities Center by over 170x, 17,000% faster, or a 99.4% reduction in provisioning time.

“In times for optimization, we (Cerner) were in need of a partner to assist in not only saving our associates time in the storage and backup space, but showing return on investment over a 3 year period. Actifio has been a true partner and their software takes a modernized approach to copy data virtualization that enables associates efficiency of legacy processes, all the while enabling long term storage cost savings. We feel we are just on the brink of possibilities modernizing copy data virtualization.”


Abilities Center
As part of the CernerWorks organization, the Abilities Center focuses on assessing the performance, availability, scalability, reliability, and affordability of Cerner products. The Abilities Lab portion of the Abilities Center is a team composed of individuals with expertise in all layers of the Millennium architecture, automated testing, data analysis, reporting, and project management.

The Cerner scalability initiative required an accelerated timeline to ensure Cerner products met the scalability needs of our largest clients, such as DoD/VA. To meet that requirement, the Abilities Lab needed to significantly expand the volume of testing and do it on a much larger data set than previously used. The initial requirements were to provide copies of a 65 TB Oracle database with ~2,200 data files to 10+ test prep environments in the lab so that engineering teams could prepare for their testing visit ahead of time and consequently conserve valuable testing time while in the lab. Based on a conventional Oracle RMAN restore, creating or refreshing the database for a prep environment would take over 2 days and consume a matching 65 TB. The extended time and ballooning storage costs quickly made a conventional approach untenable. Using Actifio, the team can create or refresh the 65 TB Oracle database for a test prep environment in 17 minutes flat – using only 6 mouse clicks! Utilizing the Actifio API, this will shortly become a completely automated step in creating the prep domains. This is a speed up of over 170x, 17,000% faster, or a 99.4% reduction in provisioning time.

“The Cerner Scalability initiative required the Abilities Center to deploy large quantities of a much larger dataset for IP teams to use in their scalability testing. We could not have satisfied that requirement without the capabilities provided by Actifio which enables us to rapidly deploy 10 – 20 copies (initially) of our 65TB dataset with little to no additional storage costs. At this point the number of copies is only limited by the requirements of IP, and we fully expect to satisfy all future growth with this technology.
This has really been a game changer in how we support our stakeholders.”

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Need help with protecting or cloning databases?
If you’re struggling with these same challenges, or are looking for ways to enhance your data protection or cloning strategy, Actifio can help. Contact Actifio ( if you need:
• Instant virtual database cloning for Test / Dev / QA
• Near instant backup & recovery
• Cloud migration
• Automated cloud DR

Learn more