Maklee’s tuning service earns top grades for leading Singapore University

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is ranked among the top 20 technology universities in the world. With staff numbering 2,500 from over 40 countries and approximately 28,000 students, NTU is a powerhouse of research and innovation on a 200-hectare garden campus in south-west Singapore.

The University’s Centre for IT Services (CITS) called on Maklee Engineering to analyze and tune the NTU Enterprise Oracle Database for enhanced concurrency load.

NTU Enterprise Oracle Database is the heart of the university’s databases, housing most of the data for Student, Human Resource and Finance applications. The application suite is comprised of in-house built, outsource built and turnkey applications, based on Microsoft .NET, Oracle mod_PLSQL and Oracle Forms/Reports technology.

The backend Oracle database server runs on HP Superdome Integrity Servers in a cluster environment for high availability. The Oracle database uses 10g RAC. Clients connect to front-end application servers which connect to the database servers.

In terms of performance and scaling, workload peaks typically occur at the beginning of the study semesters in January and July, when students register for courses. The system was unable to handle the high workload, and, as a result, the number of concurrent users for course registration had to be limited to a maximum of 200.

The Maklee team spent a week onsite analyzing baseline data from the current system. Then, the team tuned the operating system and the Oracle database environment, in addition to conducting analysis and tuning of the top SQL statements.

The changes implemented by Maklee achieved extraordinary results – load tests of post-graduate course registration demonstrated that the system and database can now handle more than 1200 concurrent users. This represents a six-fold increase in the system’s performance capabilities.

In addition, Maklee reviewed NTU’s backup and recovery process. In the past, a full database export was performed every night, taking approximately 6 hours to complete.Maklee Engineering took charge of the problem, and tuned the EXPDP datapump parameters. Following Maklee’s intervention, the full database, including all tables, is exported every night in less than 2 hours.

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