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Torrent Orchestrate Automates and Speeds Parallel Loads for Wachovia

Published
  • June 01 1999, 1:00am EDT

BACKGROUND: The Wachovia Corporation is an interstate bank holding company that offers credit and deposit services plus insurance, investment and trust products to consumers in the southeastern United States.

PLATFORMS: Wachovia Corporation runs Orchestrate on its IBM RS/6000 SP2 platform accessing a UDB EEE database. Orchestrate also runs on Sun SMP and NCR WorldMark servers and supports Linux running on Intel Xeon clusters.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Wachovia created its customer relationship management (CRM) data warehouse to manage the company's massive amounts of customer information for the purpose of better targeting sales, marketing and customer service efforts. Loading this wealth of information proved to be a difficult and time-consuming task. Despite the fact that Wachovia had a multiprocessor system, the load application Wachovia planned to use was designed to run sequentially, on one processor at a time. The volume of data was so large, however, it was clear that sequentially loading the data would take a prohibitively long time. Therefore, the company began to manually program its loading application to execute in parallel. It quickly became evident that manually programming applications to run in parallel would monopolize a large percentage of the IT department's time. Moreover, while the data loaded, the warehouse was unavailable to marketing and sales users. The cost of manual "parallelization" and the less-than-optimal loading performance convinced Wachovia to search for a solution that would both automate the parallelization process and improve load times. Torrent Systems, Inc.'s Orchestrate enabled Wachovia to automate the development of a parallel application and allowed the company to cut load times by 50 to 60 percent compared to the times achieved with manual parallelization. Today, the specialized team of programmers that was once devoted to parallelizing the application works on other strategic projects, and the sales and marketing analysts can use the data warehouse more frequently.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Orchestrate enables users to develop and execute high-performance business intelligence applications by executing data movement, data analysis and third-party applications in parallel on multiprocessor platforms. Because Orchestrate manages the mapping of application logic to the parallel architecture, Orchestrate shields developers and administrators from the complexity of developing and maintaining parallel applications. This enabled Wachovia to free IT staff from the significant job of parallel programming and maintaining the data warehouse while allowing the company to realize significant increases in performance.

STRENGTHS: Torrent Systems' reputation in the industry and Orchestrate's exceptional performance in evaluations quickly justified Wachovia's purchase of Orchestrate. It is a simple task to wrap a job in Orchestrate technology and make it run in parallel. Orchestrate saved the company the huge task of teaching multiple people to code in parallel.

WEAKNESSES: When Wachovia first purchased Orchestrate, Torrent had not yet released its GUI-based development environment, so the company proceeded to develop the applications using Orchestrate's UNIX shell-scripting API. Since then, Orchestrate has released a GUI-based development environment that should make development even simpler.

SELECTION CRITERIA: During evaluation tests, Orchestrate enabled load times to run 50 to 60 percent faster than the same process using manual parallelization. After the evaluation, Wachovia translated the results into a cost justification and found clear cost benefits in run-time performance improvements and increased productivity for the sales and marketing and IT departments.

DELIVERABLES: With Orchestrate, Wachovia was able to deploy its CRM data warehouse against the full volume of customer information available, enabling the company to develop and market products that are better targeted to their customers' needs. In addition, the automation of development and the reduction in load cycle times has brought additional long-term benefits in productivity and efficiency.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Torrent has been extremely responsive in its customer support, addressing Wachovia's issues quickly and authoritatively.

DOCUMENTATION: Torrent provides complete and easy-to-use documentation and on-site training for Orchestrate.

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