Ambeo Usage TrackerREVIEWER: Lance Reed, information manager for Aera Energy LLC.

BACKGROUND: Aera Energy LLC (Aera) is one of California's largest oil and gas producers, accounting for approximately 30% of the state's production. With headquarters in Bakersfield, most of Aera's production is centered in the San Joaquin Valley. The company also has oilfield operations in the L.A. Basin and in Ventura and Monterey Counties. Aera produces approximately 210,000 barrels of oil and 75 million cubic feet of natural gas each day and has proved oil and gas reserves equivalent to approximately 900 million barrels of oil.

PLATFORMS: Aera employs a HP server rp7410 with four 875 MHz PA8700 CPUs and 8GB of memory for our operational data store (ODS) database, running Oracle9i. Our data warehouse resides on a HP rp7410 with six 875 MHz PA8700 CPUs and 12GB of memory, also running Oracle9i. The Ambeo Usage Tracker repository resides on a HP L2000-44 with three 440 MHz PA8600 CPUs and 5GB of memory running Oracle8i. Usage Tracker clients run on Intel-based desktops, typically running Windows XP Professional.

PROBLEM SOLVED: We are significantly expanding the use of our custom data warehouse. Usage Tracker (UT) has given us an easy alternative to monitor increasing user activity, table and column access, query response time and query return code errors from the native RDBMS. This allows us to accurately measure our progress in improving the utilization of our data warehouse, anticipate additional reporting requirements and quickly troubleshoot query problems. UT requires minimal CPU resources and no additional RDBMS resources from the monitored databases. The product also gives us the ability to monitor ongoing data mining activities in the ODS and work with our customers to provide the necessary reporting structures and data in the warehouse to meet their reporting needs.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: UT has provided a quick and easy route to a hard metric on warehouse utilization. In addition, the product allows us to identify and assist users with problem queries and helps our DBAs and application developers track down anomalies in applications. We are looking into opportunities to use UT as part of our overall security infrastructure. This could free up RDBMS resources that are currently being consumed by native auditing features.

STRENGTHS: Once the initial UT configuration was completed, valuable data was instantly available. The supplied reporting tool has several features and templates that helped us analyze our data immediately. Our BusinessObjects developers have successfully used several of the provided reporting views to write and publish custom reports.

WEAKNESSES: Configuration of the services required considerabe work. Although sufficient documentation was supplied with the products, it was both complex and voluminous. Fortunately, Ambeo was more than willing to spend the time required to assist with the proper configuration of these critical files. We also had some security-related concerns about the configuration files storing database account names and passwords in clear text by default; these concerns were resolved by utilizing the encrypted password feature.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We looked for a solution to monitor and report current and historical use of our data warehouse. Any solution had to be easy to install and require little maintenance. Also, any solution must not consume additional RDBMS resources. Ambeo's UT met all of our selection criteria.

DELIVERABLES: Our overall system - based on Ambeo's UT, Activity Tracker (AT) and Usage Tracker Client Reporting package - monitors our ODS and data warehouse access, stores historical data, reports the data and creates alarms when defined exceptions occur. Ambeo usage data is stored in a database which is accessible via both the Ambeo reporting package and our enterprise standard BI tool.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Ambeo support has been prompt and knowledgeable. After implementation, Ambeo provided onsite consulting to help us build knowledge about their data model and product features.

DOCUMENTATION: Ambeo provides comprehensive documentation electronically. Context sensitive online help is available on most components.

Usage Tracker
5353 North Union Boulevard
Suite 103
Colorado Springs, CO 80918

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