STORY AT A GLANCE

Headquarters:  Shelton, CT
Industry: Natural Gas/Energy
Solution: Oracle Services

CHALLENGE:

Maintaining an Oracle environment without dedicated in-house expertise. 

SOLUTIONS:

Oracle Database Critical Patch Update service 

RESULTS:

  • Oracle Database more secure and stable
  • 1/3 expected downtime
  • Minimal time and effort investment for the client

Challenge

Iroquois Gas is a regional interstate natural gas pipeline company that relies on a key business application to measure and manage gas delivery to their external customers. This business critical application uses an Oracle database back-end system, which had become cumbersome for Iroquois' small administration team to manage. One of the team's internal administrators had some Oracle skills, but he was out of practice and had other pressing business initiatives he needed to focus on. Meanwhile, the Oracle database system was falling behind on critical security patches and bug fixes.

Our Approach

Implemented Solution

The client's administrators realized they needed help managing their Oracle systems to maintain the security and integrity of their systems.  They contacted F3 for assistance and discussed establishing a quarterly patching schedule to keep up with release of Oracle's Critical Patch Updates (CPUs), which often contain multiple security and bug fixes.  Over the course of several meetings, F3 collaborated with the client's administrators to develop a patching protocol that met their technical needs and the needs of their line of business group. 

Later on, a planned trial implementation in the client's test/dev environment brought to light a number of specific technical issues that would have delayed implementation and negatively impacted production operation.  F3's DBA team was able to identify and document these issues in advance, avoiding extended downtime and saving the client lost time and revenue.  When a separate issue came up during the testing phase, F3 continued to work with the client admins and application vendor support to resolve the problem.

In the end, when patches were applied to production systems, F3's Oracle expertise and careful planning allowed the activity to be completed cleanly, with no lingering issues, and in 1/3 the allotted downtime window.  Internal line of business customers was able to continue working with only a brief interruption, and the client's administration team received very positive feedback from upper management.  The client's Oracle systems are now more stable and secure with the latest patch sets. What looked to be a lengthy and daunting task for the client to complete themselves was finished with minimal time and effort once F3 was engaged.

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