Eye on Oracle

Feb 17 2011   2:41PM GMT

Wealth research firm dumps Dell x86 for Oracle Exadata

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

This week WealthEngine, a wealth research firm based in Maryland, went live with Oracle Exadata, a quarter-rack configuration that its VP of IT said is much faster than the x86 Dell boxes it was using before.

WealthEngine helps organizations find individuals who might make donations. So, for example, WealthEngine can help a university find people in its alumni database who have significant-enough wealth to make a healthy donation to the school. The company’s been around in one form or another for almost 20 years.

The company is experiencing some serious growth, both in revenue and data. Its revenue grew 30% in 2009, 40% last year, and is expected to grow another 50% this year. Meanwhile, its 2.5-terabyte database is double what it was last year. It probably won’t double again this year, but it will still “grow significantly,” said Silas Matteson, senior VP of IT.

“The primary driver (for moving to Exadata) was that the size of our database had grown very large and our daily loads, in one example, were running long, over 12 hours just to load the data we refresh every day,” Matteson said. “Testing on the Exadata it took three minutes.”

Matteson joined WealthEngine in June and was given the task of “taking it to the next level from a user perspective.” That meant new offerings for its 2,500-plus clients.

So WealthEngine now has three ways to deliver results to its customers. The first is online, where clients can do searches one at a time. The other, also online, allows clients to submit up to 6,000 records for bulk searching, with a 2-hour turnaround time. With the third, a client can send them its entire database, which could be millions of records. WealthEngine has a turnaround of 15 days.

To accommodate those deadlines and grow its client base, Matteson said WealthEngine had to get a stronger engine. That’s why it went with Exadata.

Starting this week, the Exadata will start consolidating the 35 different data sources WealthEngine uses into four major “pointer” files: one on people, one with addresses, one with organizations, and one cross-mapping everything. By the end of April, Matteson hopes to know when those four data files will be ready.

And then Matteson said by September WealthEngine will roll out the new version of its services, powered by Exadata.

“I would envision at some point, the end of 2012 or later, I think Exadata will be the underpinnings of all our processing because of its speed,” Matteson said.

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