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MIP Becomes Early Adopter of OpenEdge 11.4 Table Partitioning to Optimize Application Management and Performance.
MIP Holdings

Challenge

Enable its customers to more efficiently work with their very large OpenEdge Databases, improving application performance and making administration easier and more cost-effective.

Solution

The Table Partitioning feature of Progress OpenEdge 11.4.

Result

Increase efficiency of live systems; reduce time and resources required for administrative tasks; simplify data management; significantly improve application performance; reduce data storage costs.

Story

MIP Becomes Early Adopter of OpenEdge 11.4 Table Partitioning to Optimize Application Management and Performance

MIP Holdings Pty Ltd., one of the largest financial solution providers in South Africa, recently joined Progress Software’s Early Software Access Program (ESAP) to obtain access to an early release of the OpenEdge Table Partitioning feature. As part of the lead-up to the launch of Progress OpenEdge 11.4, the ESAP provides participants with exclusive hands-on experience with many of the new features coming in the release, including Table Partitioning, allowing them to preview how it will optimize application management and performance.

A long-term Progress partner and user of the Progress OpenEdge application development platform, MIP was eager to participate in the program. MIP CEO, Richard Firth, explains: “MIP is a longtime partner of Progress. Two things we have always depended on the OpenEdge database to deliver are performance efficiency and bulletproof stability. And the cost of ownership is incredibly low - we have over 1,000 databases under our administration, and our team of DBAs is just three strong. Our only area of concern recently has been dealing with very large tables in very large databases, running in excess of half a terabyte. So we are anxious to implement table partitioning, and we are confident Progress will deliver a fast, rock-solid, and backward compatible solution once again.”

MIP has allocated two engineers to participate in the ESAP. “Prior to joining MIP I worked in an environment that heavily relied on table partitioning. It is a huge performance gain from my past experience,” explains Alex Hart, Analyst Developer for MIP. “While I greatly appreciate the benefits of OpenEdge, I missed this feature. So when I heard Progress had something in the pipeline, I asked around to find out when it would be available and how I could get my hands on it.”

As part of the Early Software Access Program, MIP will have the opportunity to work with the Table Partitioning feature, even as it continues to go through its final phases of development by OpenEdge Engineering, providing feedback and offering suggestions for improvement before general availability later this year.

With MIP offering both Software as a Service (SaaS) and on-premise solutions, Hart says the new feature will be a tremendous benefit to them and their customers. “Our clients want to decrease the size of their live databases so they are more manageable. The idea is that with Progress OpenEdge Table Partitioning, the older data can be archived in a different partition so it is immediately available if need be. But from a transactional point of view, customers will only be dealing with their more recent, live data. OpenEdge 11.4’s Table Partitioning will make it far easier for our customers to manage their data, and it will significantly improve the performance of their applications.”

Hart says one of the biggest issues MIP’s customers face, particularly those with very large databases and a lot of online users, happens during nightly backups. “Sometimes, intentionally or unintentionally, the code is not always written in the most effective way when it comes to indexing, so you can end up with some significant table sweeps. And when you do a table sweep on a relatively large table your performance goes right out the window. We talked about starting up an archiving project to move that data out in a manual way. But we knew it would be very time consuming and costly. The OpenEdge Table Partitioning feature will offer a much easier and faster way to manage this archiving process. And our customers will realize the results far more quickly.”

Initially, MIP may partition data straightforwardly, for example by calling one partition “live” and the other “archive.” But to further optimize application performance, they may later choose to partition the live data further, using date ranges. The new OpenEdge feature will also enable users like MIP to carry out many administrative operations on a partition basis, allowing some partitions to remain on-line while performing maintenance on another, for example if there is a need to rebuild an index. “I appreciate that each partition can be locked and worked with on its own without affecting the other ones,” says Hart. “That is a tremendous benefit.”

Improving Efficiency and Reducing Costs

One of the most significant benefits of using OpenEdge 11.4’s Table Partitioning, says Hart, will be improved efficiency. “Our customers will be able to make their live system much more efficient by downscaling the number of records in a table. That improved efficiency will create a domino effect when it comes to the time and resources needed for maintenance. The entire process just becomes quicker and easier.”

Another benefit to MIP and its customers will be the ability to reduce costs through decreased database downtime and the option to store partitions on different media storage. For example, they can purchase less expensive storage for their older, archived data while investing in more performant media for their live data. “That is a very powerful thing – that your partitions can live on different storage media,” explains Hart. “It saves you costs all around.”

OpenEdge users will be able to reap the benefits of this new feature quickly because it will not require any additional coding. “I really like the fact that we won’t need to make any code changes to implement Partitioning. This will make it very quick and easy for our customers to migrate to this feature,” says Hart.

There are a number of benefits of participating in the Early Software Access Program for the OpenEdge 11.4 release, says Hart. “We are excited to be part of the ESAP so we can start playing around with the Partitioning feature and see what kind of gains we can realize. You can read all about a new feature, but it isn’t until you really start playing around with it in your own environment that you get a good feel for how it will work and impact your business.” And, since the ESAP is for the entire OpenEdge 11.4 release and not just the Table Partitioning feature, participants have the option to try out other new functionality that is being developed for OpenEdge customers.

Hart says the early access program will give MIP the ability to anticipate precisely what will be involved with the adoption of Table Partitioning so they will be better prepared to guide their customers through the process and advise them on how to optimize their use of the new feature.

“What I find most amazing about being a part of the early release program is that if there are things we see in the pre-release that we think can be improved upon, we can give Progress that input and possibly impact the final product release--maybe add an additional modification that is beneficial to us. We really have a voice in the development process and I appreciate that opportunity.”

Table Partitioning will be supported in both the database tools of OpenEdge 11.4 and within OpenEdge Explorer and OpenEdge Management. To join the OpenEdge Early Software Access Program to preview Table Partitioning and other features coming in OpenEdge 11.4, email early-software-admin@progress.com.

About MIP

MIP Holdings Pty Ltd. is one of the largest financial solution providers in South Africa. MIP's products and services are diversified to accommodate the specialized administration needs of medical aids; managed healthcare; employee benefits; personal finance; lending; treasury; research & development; mobile banking & tracking and mobile locations. http://www.mip.co.za

Call Outs:

“OpenEdge 11.4’s Table Partitioning feature will make it far easier for our customers to manage their data, and it will significantly improve the performance of their application.”

-- Alex Hart, Analyst Developer, MIP Holdings Pty Ltd.

“Our customers will be able to make their live system much more efficient by downscaling the number of records in a table. That improved efficiency will create a domino effect when it comes to the time and resources needed for maintenance. The entire process just becomes quicker and easier because of Progress OpenEdge Table Partitioning.”

-- Alex Hart, Analyst Developer, MIP Holdings Pty Ltd.

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