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CASE STUDY: Data Warehouse Appliance Combines Unconstrained Analytics with Energy Efficiency for UK’s Leading Mobile Carrier

Commentary by Stephen Hawkins, Senior Data Architect, Orange UK
Customer Profile

Orange UK is the United Kingdom’s most popular mobile phone service, with more than 13 million active subscribers. Orange UK is at the forefront of efforts by mobile communications carriers to develop sophisticated marketing programs that deliver targeted products and services to customers.

Business Challenge

Orange’s success and future growth depends on in-depth insight into customer calling patterns and recognition of behavior trends through the analysis of call detail records (CDRs). As data volume continued to increase, Orange determined that it needed a new data warehousing platform. Orange needed to be able to analyze billions of CDRs in a fraction of the time used by other systems, while reducing its equipment footprint.

Deeper, Wider, Faster

With its Intelligent Query Streaming architecture, the Netezza Performance Server (NPS) data warehouse appliance has allowed Orange to broaden and deepen its BI efforts while using its existing analytical tools. Orange is now able to run more queries than it could before, with faster query times. As a result, Orange’s BI team has been able to dramatically increase its responsiveness to internal business users. Orange can now analyze billions of CDRs to offer highly targeted promotions, while improving the ability to detect fraud and capture cross-carrier billing.

The system is also able to keep pace with rapidly rising data volumes. “Since we first installed the Netezza system, we have added at least half as much data again to the database, yet still achieve the same speed of response,” explains Sylvia Sawkins, manager of data control, Orange UK.

Orange’s BI team has been ableto dramatically increase its responsivenessto internal business users. Orange can now analyze billionsof CDRs to offer highly targetedpromotions, while improving the ability to detect fraud and capture cross-carrier billing.

Substantial Space and Power Savings

With space and power at a premium within Orange’s data centers, the NPS system saved large amounts of both. With its previous system, Orange was consuming almost 25,000 watts and 85,000 BTU per hour. Once it implemented a three-terabyte Netezza data warehouse appliance, Orange saw its power consumption drop to 7,000 watts, and cooling requirements were reduced to 24,000 BTU per hour.

Even as the amount of information continues to grow, Netezza’s compact data warehouse appliance has allowed Orange to significantly reduce the equipment footprint in its data center, with the number of cabinet spaces dropping from 26 to 9. The speed and ease of deployment were an added bonus.

Market Leader Orange Raises the BI Bar

For Orange UK, Netezza’s data warehouse appliance has significantly improved data mining on CDRs, enabling highly targeted marketing to ensure that the highest value is obtained from each customer, while maximizing retention. And by reducing complexity, power consumption, and space requirements—three of the biggest costs facing IT departments—the Netezza system provides an efficient platform for future growth.

Now that the NPS appliance enables timely access to terabytes of data, Orange is able to turn its attention to new business challenges. “The system started by making our lives easier; this led to an ability to handle a greater capacity. Culturally, now the business demands more from its data, expectations are set much higher, so there’s a great focus on quality,” Sawkins adds. The goal: data that is not just faster, but better.



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This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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