Rapid Growth Slows Down the System
Such explosive growth made it necessary for the bank to rely heavily on information in order to make strategic business decisions in a timely manner. Due to the explosive growth of Banco Macro and the volume of information held on a SQL Server database, the reporting processes had become slow. The SQL Server database, which was larger than 200 gigabytes weighed down data-uploads making them slow, and tables had to be partitioned in order to obtain reasonable response times. Banco Macro realized it needed to build a data warehouse system that could accommodate their present rapid growth and also scale with the bank in the future. Originally, Banco Macro began constructing the central information repository for all business users. But its use began growing exponentially (from 6 to over 800 users in less than four years). Bank activity was affected by delays due to a lack of database space, reporting formats and slow response times.
The Need for a New Data Warehouse
To address this multi-layered challenge Banco Macro enlisted system integrator, COA S.A. to select a more powerful database to support the business. Banco Macro is a long time Sybase client, its central systems (savings accounts, current accounts, among others) are set up on Sybase ASE databases. However, the new data warehouse called for a data warehousing and analytics solution. “Sybase IQ is a platform developed by Sybase specifically for data warehousing, organized in columns, where each column is a physical archive inside the server,” explains Sergio Heller, manager of COA S.A. “We were aware of this having read it and it was the first thing that caught our attention when we saw it. Access is much quicker and can run on any platform, unlike other similar, owner based systems which are also more expensive than Sybase IQ.” Based on this, COA recommended Sybase IQ and the subsequent proof of concept yielded significant results, reducing query times from 10 minutes to 2.5 minutes for the most complex queries.
Sybase IQ is the Clear Solution
Implementation of the new data warehouse was coordinated and developed by COA S.A., with participation from the Bank's IT department, together with Sybase professional services. “Our goal was to expedite response times for queries and updates. Space was not an issue we were too concerned about,” explains Heller. For business users, operating times should be short. Depending on the complexity of the query, the user’s wait time should be less than 10 minutes. Furthermore, the aim was to improve user experience and make better use of the hardware. Migrating the database by copying 250 gigabytes of SQL Server to Sybase IQ, took only two days. Two days were added to this in order to train the developers. “Deadlines were met and those who saw the results were shocked at the performance and speed of the Sybase IQ solution,” affirms Heller.
When the solution was implemented, the database space was reduced from 250 gigabytes to 54 gigabytes due to Sybase IQ’s data compression system. Now, the data warehouse is used by 1,700 users, with the same response capacity as it had when there were 6 users. The system architecture on which the Sybase IQ database is set up has a current capacity of more than 500 gigabytes, uses 4 DualCore, 3 GigaHertz processors, 32 gigabytes of RAM and 1 Terabyte hard disk. SAP Business Objects Data Integrator is used for ETL processes, whereas MicroStrategy is used for reporting.
Banco Macro Reaps Benefits of Sybase IQ Powered Data Warehouse
Banco Macro continues to enjoy the benefits of the new data warehouse system. Process times have been reduced by 25% or 30%, and query times by some 80%, allowing information to be obtained in a timely and proper manner in order to make faster and more informed business decisions. To address the future scalability, the platform is currently 500 gigabytes and the response time is acceptable and users are satisfied. If there is a future need for more database space, Sybase IQ can accommodate by simply adding additional disks. “Actually we have a single platform with all data from the last 4 years and the queries continue to take exactly the same amount of time as when we carried out the first implementation. As well as other additional benefits such as agility for decision making, query speeds, reduced response time and a significant saving on hardware investment,” comments Heller. “After implementing Sybase IQ in the data warehouse, response time was reduced for the most common queries from 4 - 5 minutes to 20 and 30 seconds” states Heller. “Currently, we are able to have a single database with all consolidated data from the last 4 years and the queries take exactly the same amount of time when we carry out the implementation. Despite having over double the amount of users and a data warehouse of 500 gigabytes, this does not affect the performance of Sybase IQ. 90% of user queries take less than 1 minute, depending on the complexity of the data search.”
Looking to the Future
Sybase IQ is currently being used in the data warehouse and Sybase ASE is the standard database. “Banco Macro is completely satisfied with Sybase IQ, due to proven performance. Sybase is solid and provides favorable response times making it unnecessary to shorten data history. Beyond the fact that the engine operates well, the company has a qualified responsive technical support team. Nobody is thinking of changing to another database engine,” concluded Heller.