When Eric Maas, chief technology officer and co-founder of Infopia Inc., helped organize the company in 1999, he had to lease a used Oracle database and application server.
Since neither Maas nor any of the company's 15 other employees were database or systems administrators, the downtime caused by server and database problems quickly mounted. Making matters worse, the company's database was located in a data center 10 miles away from the company's Salt Lake City, Utah headquarters.
"We started the company with only limited funding, and what we had wasn't always enough," Maas said. "We had a lot of different things going on at once, and maintaining our infrastructure was not what we wanted to focus on."
Infopia develops marketing software to help retailers and manufacturers keep track of inventory and sales performance on consumer Web sites. Its customer base includesgrow to more than 150 Web-based companies.
The increase in customers, though, caused a strain on the company servers. A lack of enough memory in the servers caused them to freeze up, and the company's Linux Tomcat application server ran out of memory after only a few months of growth, Maas said.
"It seemed like there was always something wrong," Maas said.
Last year, the com paany examined its outsourcing options, researching companies that includesuch as IBM, AT&T and Genuity Inc.
Already using an Oracle Corp. database, Infopia signed an outsourcing agreement
"As a result, we reduced our technology spending by about 30%," Maas said. "And we reduced our downtime by more than 50%."
When Oracle launched its outsourcing business two years ago, the company found it an effective way to sell additional Oracle licenses on the premise that its customers would get the most out of their Oracle investments, said Allie Young, a vice president of research at Stamford-based Gartner IncResearch.
"Oracle sets up flexible annual relationships that don't lock a client in, generally speaking," Young said. '"They put together an outsourcing model, which is extremely appealing to small and mid-sized companies because very often these companies can't afford to hire and keep busy an Oracle DBA."
For Infopia, the outsourcing project meant a complete upgrade to Oracle 9i using Real Application Clusters (RAC) on a Red Hat Linux platform. In addition, Infopia employees started using Oracle Collaboration Suite applications on the Oracle 9i Application Server.
Oracle set up an implementation team that includes a primary and secondary DBA who work through daily or weekly phone calls to smooth out any problems along the way.
In June, the company implemented Oracle E-mail, part of Oracle Collaboration Suite, Maas said.. Company employees have been able to access e-mail through Web browsers and desktop clients like Microsoft Outlook.
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