When it needed to upgrade its Oracle database, Bajaj Allianz relied on Micro Focus Performance Center on SaaS to ensure performance was not degraded. By outsourcing the testing to KPIT, Bajaj Allianz was able to complete the project within only a month, without needing any in-house testing expertise.
For modern financial services companies, IT is their lifeblood. Few industries depend on technology quite so heavily for their day-to-day operations, and to keep their customers happy. Bajaj Allianz, one of India’s biggest insurance businesses, is no exception. The company is organized into two main groups: general insurance and life insurance. For the life insurance division, its policy issuance system – the core of its business – is based on database software from Oracle, with Oracle Forms and Java used to build front ends.
Bajaj Allianz has an in-house development team that creates its own Oracle-based applications. Bajaj Allianz was using version 10g of Oracle for its life insurance division, but it faced the need to upgrade to version 11i. The existing version was nearing the end of its life and support from Oracle was scheduled to finish. Also, Bajaj Allianz had around 4,000 concurrent users on its database, located across India, and Oracle recommended the upgrade to improve performance for this large number of users.
While the new version of Oracle was expected to deliver performance and efficiency improvements, Bajaj Allianz wanted to be sure. It needed to benchmark the performance of its existing software and compare it to the planned new version to check if performance and availability would in fact improve, and to minimize the risk of the upgrade.
“We have a huge database, with a huge list of customers and transactions, and we wanted to do performance testing before the upgrade,” says Raj Kamal Pal, manager at Bajaj Allianz. “We were not sure what the performance would be if we upgraded the database.”
Bajaj Allianz was also concerned due to the previous experience with upgrades.
To solve these challenges, Bajaj Allianz decided to use Performance Center running on a SaaS platform, which provides software testing tools to investigate and verify application performance.
“I‘m aware of all the major testing tools, and we chose Performance Center on SaaS because the performance testing tools are known worldwide as the number one,” says Pal. “The reports that the tool produces give each and every detail, and are very user-friendly and simple to understand.”
As the testing requirement was for a one -off project, the company did not want to pay to acquire software licenses for test software. It also did not have the appropriate in-house skills, as Pal explains, “We didn’t have any expertise in performance testing in our company, so we wanted to enlist the help of a third-party company who could do the testing for us.”
To meet its needs, Bajaj Allianz approached a solution partner. It recommended KPIT Technologies, to carry out the testing. KPIT provided a team of two, who carried out the testing at Bajaj Allianz’s offices.
For the project, it selected Performance Center v12 running Software as a Service (SaaS) with one controller, three Load Generators and 300 virtual users of Oracle E-Business Protocol Bundle. By running an on-demand SaaS solution, Bajaj Allianz benefited from the flexibility to scale up or down as required, and to execute performance tests from load generators in the cloud or on its premises.
To verify the expected performance, KPIT and Bajaj Allianz carried out the upgrade first in a test environment, and used Performance Center to analyze the results. Performance Center enabled KPIT to find several unoptimized database queries that had a negative impact on performance, which meant that Bajaj Allianz’s development team could then fix the problems.
“We discovered some issues that could have compromised the performance of the production system,” says Pal. “Through Performance Center, we were able to identify these problems – which we could then resolve.” Performance Center on SaaS meant that Bajaj Allianz could ensure performance was not degraded when the Oracle update was implemented. By outsourcing the testing to KPIT, Bajaj Allianz was able to complete the project without having to invest in software licenses, and without having to distract from its own operations.
“The KPIT team helped us understand the reports from Performance Center, and to show us where queries in the database were causing problems,” says Pal. “They were very good and very helpful, and had excellent knowledge of Performance Center. I appreciate their commitment, and what they were able to do with us in the performance testing within a short period of time.”
When Bajaj Allianz could see there were no more issues in the test environment, it went ahead with the upgrade in its production environment. Pal comments, “We completed the upgrade, and now the system is running very smoothly for our 4,000 users – we have had no complaints.”
Bajaj Allianz’s users are its insurance agents, based at the company’s 1,500 offices around India. While end customers can visit the offices or buy a life insurance policy online, in 90 percent of cases the agent will visit a customer and take their details, before returning to the office and issuing the new policy using the Oracle database system.
With the previous Oracle 10g database, this process could often take up to 15 minutes – during which time the agent simply had to wait for the system to respond before moving on to the next screen. Following the upgrade to 11g, this time has now been effectively halved to only seven or eight minutes.
“You can get cheaper testing tools, but Micro Focus provides much higher quality,” said Pal. “It generated reports that are more detailed than any other tool, it can find issues that other tools would miss, and it gave our development team better information to help solve the issues than any other tool could have achieved.
“Performance Center has better compatibility with other tools, and gives us more options for including add-ins which can dig down right to the query level,” says Pal. “It is also better than other tools at identifying the objects of Oracle Forms.”
With the database upgrade project complete, Bajaj Allianz is now planning to use Performance Center for further software tests within its life insurance business.
“We used Performance Center on SaaS and found it highly effective in our case, and we recommend it to be used by others too,” concludes Pal. “The project was completed on time, we were happy with the report produced, and everything met our requirements.
We used Performance Center on SaaS and found it highly effective, and we recommend it to be used by others.
Performance Center has better compatibility with other tools, and gives us more options for including add-ins which can dig down right to the query level. It is also better than other tools at identifying the objects of Oracle Forms.