Pulse picked the HP Non-Stop Blade System, which has had a great deal of success in banking and government. In the process, the company was able, with one vendor, to replace four. The resulting simplicity and cost savings met or exceeded the design goals, one of which was the capability to be fully redundant and to double in size rapidly since the Pulse solution, at least for a time, would be unmatched in the market.
One thing that came out of the conversation with Pulse was what a problem Oracle had become. Oracle's pricing is very aggressive, apparently far more aggressive than the HP alternative, and Pulse's already high Oracle costs would have been up to four times higher because Oracle charges both for redundancy and for excess capacity. In effect, Oracle was penalizing them for having redundant systems and for building in advance of expected massive growth-both of which are best practices, mind you. HP did not and only charged the company for what it was using.
News: Oracle Pushes Appliance Message to Software Crowd
The end result was that the money saved from switching from Oracle, which was considerable, partially paid for this solution and dramatically increased its potential ROI. More importantly, Pulse was able to better prepare for future problems and growth after stepping away from Oracle. I expect this would have become a long-term problem for the company.
Large Appliances, Deep Planning Can Work
My big takeaway here is that this large appliance approach works by reducing the massive complexity that often results from vendor diversity in a solution. Of course, the other big takeaway is that Oracle is at cross purposes to firms that intend to grow or want to use redundancy to assure uptime. As I understand it, the mixed solution provided Pulse about 97 percent uptime, likely because of the complexity and the cost of redundancy. The HP/ReD appliance solution is at five nines (99.999 percent) and Pulse expects to approach seven nines, which is far closer to the high availability that a financial institution requires.
Keep in mind that this system is still in beta, at only 10 percent capacity and under a 12-month deployment target that, to date, has only slipped one month. At the same time, Pulse has done full load testing; part of the deployment has been to put in place strong metrics and benchmarks, and those are all holding.