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Overstock.com Uses GoldenGate For Real-time Data Warehousing, Migration
A GoldenGate Success Story

by Kristina Molfino, GoldenGateFriday, November 09, 2007

BUSINESS GOALS

Pull transactional data from online production sources supporting Retail, Auctions and Travel sites and feed directly into operational data warehouse

Improve analytics and reporting and achieve a single view of the customer to better understand purchasing habits, refine marketing campaigns and more effectively drive business

Greatly improve trending and customer segmentation analysis with the freshest data in order to perform segmented and targeted promotional campaigns and sell customers what they want at the right time and price

Enable continuous operations for online production databases during migrations and upgrades

SOLUTION

GoldenGate Software for Real-Time Data Warehousing and Continuous Operations, during System Migration and Upgrade and GoldenGate Veridata™.

CUSTOMER QUOTE

"Day-old data has zero benefit to us. If we send out an email campaign we need to know if it’s working. We need to know if consumers are clicking in the right place, if the email is driving consumers to the site, and if those customers are making purchases. With GoldenGate we can access this kind of data in real time, rather than waiting one, two or three days."

Jack Garzella
Vice President, Data Warehousing Reporting and Analytics, Overstock.com

 

GOLDENGATE BENEFITS

Zero-Downtime System Migration/Upgrad

GoldenGate enabled continuous business operations during a concurrent database upgrade, operating system and hardware migration. GoldenGate Veridata™ confirmed the Oracle10g environment was fully synchronized.

• Oracle 9i RAC to Oracle 10g
• RedHat Linux to IBM AIX

Real-Time Data Warehousing, Reporting and Analytics

GoldenGate captures transactional data from operational Oracle databases and feeds a Teradata Warehouse in seconds, driving reports which are run every 15 minutes and enabling improved analysis and decision-making.

High Availability and Disaster Recovery

As part of an enterprise implementation at Overstock.com, GoldenGate supports high availability and disaster tolerance across three sites including Retail, Auctions and Travel whereby they can immediately failover to a secondary instance in the event of any outage.

SYSTEMS SUMMARY

Hardware/OS:
RedHat Linux, IBM AIX

Databases:
Oracle 9i RAC, Oracle 10g, Teradata Database V2R6.0.2

Application:
Business Objects for Reporting/OLAP
Sunopsis for Data Transformation

CLIENT

Overstock.com, Inc. is an online “closeout” retailer, offering discount, brand-name merchandise for sale over the Internet. The leading retailer offers customers the opportunity to shop smarter and more conveniently online for top-quality bargains. Overstock.com has five main shopping areas on their site; Shopping; Books, Video, Music and Games; Bulk Business; Auctions and Travel, with the latter being their newest business line and also experiencing rapid growth. Overstock.com is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: OSTK) and is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.

CHALLENGE

In 2004, Overstock.com’s revenue was up five-fold from 2002 and gross profits nearly quadrupled. By 2005, Overstock.com’s revenue was over $800m and with business growing at a rate of 100% a year, IT needed to prepare for continued growth and increasing customer demand. Experiencing 14 to 18 million hits a month to the website, Overstock.com recognized the need to both scale and streamline operations to better support its 24 x 7 customer transaction and reporting loads. Being an online retailer, there is zero tolerance for downtime. Overstock.com is always open and customers have come to expect that so their IT infrastructure must be continuously available.

In addition, Overstock.com’s reporting systems were over-stressed and they could not run any reporting against the operational systems without affecting performance. At the same time, they knew they had to provide a real-time, single view of the customer to better understand purchasing habits, refine marketing efforts and more effectively drive business to the site. As a part of this initiative, Overstock.com decided to implement Teradata® Warehouse as well as numerous customer analytics applications.

SOLUTION

GoldenGate Streamlines Operations and Supports Real-Time Data
Initially, Overstock.com deployed GoldenGate’s real-time data integration solution to move customer transactional data from their Oracle 9i databases supporting their retail site into the Teradata Warehouse, running the Teradata V2R6 database. This initial roll-out proved successful and Overstock.com quickly realized that GoldenGate could help them with multiple other real-time data movement initiatives. Overstock.com had decided to migrate their retail database sites from Oracle 9i RAC on RedHat Linux to Oracle 10g on IBM AIX in order to streamline their infrastructure and increase processing power. However, after some detailed investigation, the only way to migrate with near zero downtime was by using GoldenGate Software.

Overstock.com took a phased approach for the migration project spreading it out over a period of time, for the primary reason that it was of utmost importance to assure the business that data transactional integrity was maintained throughout and more importantly that there was no data loss.

Overstock.com turned to GoldenGate’s Veridata™ product which is a high speed data comparison engine that compares two running databases and provides a detailed report showing details such as row count and more importantly, which rows, columns and records are different or out-of-synch. Overstock.com relied upon this powerful technology to assure them that their migration was successfully completed and they could continue business as usual running their new, upgraded environment.

Overstock.com has already started to see the benefits of leveraging customer data in real time. According to Jack Garzella, vice president of Data Warehousing Reporting and Analytics for Overstock.com, it hasn’t been hard for employees to move over to the new system because, thanks to GoldenGate, the data is up-to-date and accurate at any given time.

“Day-old data has zero benefit to us,” said Garzella. “If we send out an email campaign we need to know if it’s working. We need to know if consumers are clicking in the right place, if the email is driving consumers to the site, and if those customers are making purchases. With GoldenGate we can access this kind of data in real time, rather than waiting one, two or three days. The speed is phenomenal and the integrity of each transaction is preserved.”

Since GoldenGate allows access to data in real time, Overstock.com can run reports around the clock, without putting additional strain on the operations system. In the past, the system could be tied up for long periods of time for a single data report, causing significant reduction in productivity. “Accessing the data in real time using GoldenGate we can immediately see if we’re profitable and if our business processes are working,” states Garzella. “By using GoldenGate we now have the ability to track customer behavior as it happens and check our return on investment.”

CONCLUSION

Stocking the Data Warehouse

In the past, Overstock.com was forced to treat all customers the same, whereas now the retailer can analyze customer behavior and purchase history to target marketing campaigns and service. “We’ll be able to pinpoint which customers like the one dollar shipping campaign, or which customers prefer to shop in the discount section. We’ve never had the power to view our customers like this,” said Garzella. “With this information, we can provide better service to our customers. In the retail industry, it’s all about understanding your customers.”

With the rapid increase in purchasing demand, Overstock.com expects the new system to pay for itself within the first year, maybe sooner. In addition to data migration and real-time data warehousing projects, Overstock.com has plans to standardize on GoldenGate for high availability and disaster recovery on its online production sites.

ABOUT GOLDENGATE

GoldenGate Software Inc. is the leader in transactional data management (TDM) solutions for maximizing the performance, accessibility, and availability of enterprise data. GoldenGate’s technology offerings enable businesses to capture, route, transform, deliver, and verify transactional data in real time across heterogeneous IT environments. With more than 300 customers worldwide, GoldenGate is used to drive solutions for critical initiatives in high availability, disaster tolerance, and real-time data integration. Customers include Visa, Bank of America, Sabre Holdings, Comcast, Federated Investors, Mayo Foundation, UBS, and Overstock.com. A private company, GoldenGate is headquartered in San Francisco with regional sales offices worldwide.

Global Headquarters:
+1 415 777 0200
sales@goldengate.com
www.goldengate.com
© 2006 GoldenGate Software, Inc.
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