BACKGROUND: Crestar Bank, a subsidiary of Sun Trust, the tenth largest bank in the United States, provides a wide range of financial services to consumers, businesses, institutions and governmental customers. With 395 branches and 715 ATMs, Crestar is committed to offering customers exceptional performance, unparalleled convenience and greater value for their money. At the heart of Crestar's operation is the Information Systems Division which oversees the bank's business and financial processes ­ including the bank's financial data warehouse. The financial data warehouse consists of more than 55GB and runs on a Sun Solaris server and Oracle7.3.4.

PLATFORMS: Precise Software Solutions' application performance management products for Oracle-based systems run on UNIX and Windows NT and support Windows 3.x, 95 and NT clients.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Using Precise/SQL, we were able to significantly optimize the transaction response times and application throughput for our Oracle-based data warehouse applications. Precise/SQL is a comprehensive solution that allows Crestar to automatically pinpoint the source of data warehouse application performance problems. With Precise/SQL, we are able to obtain information necessary to make intelligent decisions on how best to improve the bank's data warehouse application performance.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: With little or no overhead to the application environment or Oracle database, Precise/SQL allows Crestar to take the guesswork out of application performance tuning. Crestar's DBAs are no longer taxed with having to randomly identify the cause of application performance bottlenecks. Using Precise/SQL, we are able to automatically capture historical data for event recreation and trend analysis ­ making it easy to detect and correct application resource consumers and database and system inhibitors. Additionally, Precise/SQL allows us to consistently locate inefficiencies within SQL statements by quickly identifying long-running statements ­ often the cause of performance problems. For the first time, Crestar is able to detect and correct application performance problems before they arise.

STRENGTHS: Precise/SQL provides more functionality and productivity gains than any other database performance monitoring solution. It isolates SQL statement performance problems and provides proactive measurements by monitoring an application's path to data. With Precise/SQL we are able to eliminate the guesswork often involved when physically checking individual lines of code to attempt to detect performance problems. Precise/SQL is a solid, dependable and extremely valuable solution that allows us to significantly increase our data warehouse ROI.

WEAKNESSES: After using the product for quite some time, we were surprised to learn that it is possible to customize our environment to enable us to view multiple databases on one screen. It would have been helpful if this functionality had been documented.

SELECTION CRITERIA: After evaluating several products, Crestar found Precise/SQL provided more functionality and productivity gains than any other application performance management solution.

DELIVERABLES: Precise/SQL allows Crestar to ensure maximum availability, reliability and efficiency of the bank's data warehouse applications. Using Precise/SQL, we are able to obtain the sophisticated level of information required to optimize application throughput and application transaction and response times. In one case, we actually experienced performance gains of more than 900 percent. Because of the continuous success of Precise/SQL, we now mandate that all new data warehouse applications be monitored by Precise/SQL prior to going into production. Thanks to Precise/SQL, the overall performance and productivity of the organization has increased dramatically. Precise/SQL continues to exceed our expectations in providing a low-overhead method for identifying and correcting inefficiencies in our Oracle data warehouse application code.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Working with Precise has been a very positive experience. Their pre- and post-implementation support is excellent. Our requests are always dealt with in a prompt, professional manner.

DOCUMENTATION: We found the documentation well laid out and easy to follow.

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