Published on 31-Mar-2012
Validated on 07 Oct 2013
"By having an optimized and integrated system, we now can leverage all our data to look for new opportunities and focus our attention where we will see the most return." - Kim Konotchick, Senior IT Manager, Qualcomm
PureData System for Analytics (powered by Netezza technology), PureSystems, BA - Business Analytics, BA - Business Intelligence, Big Data, Big Data & Analytics, Big Data & Analytics: Operations/Fraud/Threats, Data Warehouse, Smarter Computing
Qualcomm is the world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. The company manufactures chipsets, licenses technology and delivers wireless communications products and services worldwide.
Qualcomm's IT staff found performance and manageability of existing large data warehouses were becoming difficult as data volumes and business demands increased. IT staff was challenged in responding quickly enough to new business projects.
The organization consolidated data onto the IBM® PureData™ System for Analytics, powered by Netezza® technology, to make advanced analytics on data simpler, faster and more accessible.
Accelerated time-to-market on new solutions; decreased development time from months to days or weeks; realized up to 600 times faster query performance in some cases; enabled IT to support more projects with existing staff.
For Kim Konotchick, a senior IT manager at Qualcomm, the “tipping point” for a new data warehouse came from a simple question: do we need new servers to support our growing volume of data?
“We had to perform a number of calculations to figure out when one of our business units’ servers would fall over,” recalls Konotchick, whose team supports 13 different business units within Qualcomm. “At the same time, we were working with the organization to tune the platform so performance was at an acceptable level. It had taken us six months to do the work and I knew we couldn’t continue along the same path.”
Qualcomm is the world leader in 3G and next-generation mobile technologies. The company manufactures chipsets, licenses technology and delivers wireless communications products and services worldwide. To support the business, the IT team helps Qualcomm’s business units analyze carrier data, revenue and billing data, customer and social media data, profit and loss data, log file data, and transaction data. This data is also used in customer-facing services, such as providing the company’s transportation and logistics customers with dashboards regarding their fleets.
Konotchick’s IT staff found that they were spending several months at a time just on performance tuning for the large data-volume data warehouses—which delayed the delivery of new analytic services.
“Our data was growing and we needed to deliver solutions much more quickly,” says Konotchick. “We couldn't keep up with our existing environment and found it very difficult to pinpoint if a performance problem was hardware- or software related.”
It was at a conference during that time that Konotchick saw the potential of a data warehouse appliance.
“We originally thought our data wasn’t big enough for an appliance and that the cost would outweigh the benefit,” says Konotchick. “I partnered with our enterprise architecture team and our DBA team, and we set out to prove through a proof of concept (POC) that the cost of the appliance would be less than the cost of all the performance tuning that we were doing. We evaluated all the major vendors that offered these types of solutions dealing with big data, and narrowed that list down to two vendors.”
During the proof of concept, the team quickly saw the value of IBM PureData System for Analytics.
“The results spoke for themselves,” says Konotchick. “The box arrived on a Monday and we had it on the network that same day. We loaded all of our data by the next day and had tested all of our queries. We spent the remaining week-and-a-half trying to break the appliance. We were throwing queries at it—joining 600 million row tables, doing Cartesian joins—and our developers were literally yelling down the hallway about how excited they were with the results.”
Appliance simplicity was also a major factor.
“Our developers weren’t eager to have to learn a new technology,” says Konotchick. “During the POC, we had about an hour of training and we saw how simple it would be for us to use.”
Reducing time-to-market from months to days
With PureData System for Analytics, the IT team can more quickly respond to business demands—even last minute changes.
“The biggest value has been in faster time-to-market,” says Konotchick. “For one of our major projects, we had spent six months developing aggregate layers so the application could meet the necessary performance requirements. The day we went live, they changed the business direction, which would require development changes to these layers in our data warehouse. With our POC, we proved that it would be a couple of days’ effort to make that change instead of several months.”
The downstream impact of this for Qualcomm’s business is enormous.
“In the wireless communications area, technology is moving at lightning speed,” says Konotchick. “And the way for us to stay competitive is to be at that speed. PureData System for Analytics gives us the capability to move faster and help our business units get information faster to support that pace. We’ve also been a longtime IBM Cognos® user and so when we brought on PureData System for Analytics, we were excited because we knew that IBM would be doing product development to build a better product for both.”
Up to 600 times faster performance
Not only could the IT team deliver solutions faster, it could also provide better performance at the same time.
“Some queries ran up to 600 times faster and, in one case, a report that previously took 32 hours to generate was completed in 10 minutes,” says Konotchick. “In addition, reports that before would hang are now immediately available.”
Faster performance is enabling the organization for the first time to analyze all its data, not just pieces of it.
“Before, we found that we hadn’t been tapping into a lot of the data we had because of the limitations of our infrastructure,” says Konotchick. “By having an optimized and integrated system, we now can leverage all our data to look for new opportunities and focus our attention where we will see the most return.”
It also enables the IT team to deliver new data-based services to marketing, product development, and customer service staff.
“With the horsepower that IBM PureData System for Analytics provides, we’ve been able to open up our environments more and allow our internal customers to write ad-hoc queries so that they can get better insight into their data and their customers,” says Konotchick. “This flexibility has enabled us to reduce the number of reports we build and decrease the number of saved reports from 100 to about 13.”
Substantial savings driven by IT investment
Based on the POC results, Qualcomm’s IT team estimated considerable savings with the purchase of PureData System for Analytics.
“We estimated that spending six months on performance tuning alone was going to be very expensive,” says Konotchick. “We found that we would gain considerable savings from that alone with the purchase of PureData System for Analytics, and that was just one case example. You can take that through all of the other efforts, development, DBA support, and so on, that we have. It truly allows us to do more with less in this budget-constrained time.”
The simplicity of the system—which integrates database, server and storage into a single, easy-to-manage system—helped minimize both the initial training and ongoing maintenance of the environment.
“One of the things we were looking to do was to consolidate our many data warehouses in one environment,” says Konotchick. “Before we had servers and data warehouses all over. Since buying IBM PureData System for Analytics, we have consolidated these large data warehouses into a single system. It is driving considerable time savings for our development and DBA teams. We spend less time on design and maintenance and can deliver more projects with the same amount of staff, which was important given that new projects were coming out faster than we could handle.”
About IBM PureData System for Analytics
The IBM PureData System for Analytics, powered by Netezza technology, integrates database, server and storage into a single, easy-to-manage appliance that requires minimal setup and ongoing administration while producing faster and more consistent analytic performance. The IBM PureData System for Analytics simplifies business analytics dramatically by consolidating all analytic activity in the appliance, right where the data resides, for industry-leading performance. Visit: ibm.com/PureData to see how our family of expert integrated systems eliminates complexity at every step and helps you drive true business value for your organization.
About IBM Data Warehousing and Analytics Solutions
IBM provides the broadest and most comprehensive portfolio of data warehousing, information management and business analytic software, hardware and solutions to help customers maximize the value of their information assets and discover new insights to make better and faster decisions and optimize their business outcomes.
For more information
Help IT make the shift to the strategic center of your business, and leverage proven expertise to take the lead. To learn more about the PureSystems™ family and the PureData System for Analytics, contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/PureSystems/PureData or http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/puredata/analytics .
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
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