Utility providers have a large number of complex databases working together at any given time. When you combine those databases with the wide variety of users and task-oriented workflows, application and system performance can suffer. At best, users may experience latency. At worse, user may experience application or system failure.
The truth is: not all commercial-off-the-shelf geographical information systems (GIS) are equal, or designed to handle the data and user strains of managing a utility network. Depending on a GIS’ architecture and the architecture of the environment running it, poor performance might be par for the course.
In this blog series, I’m looking at the seven reasons utility providers trust Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure with their network models. In my last post, I discussed how our utility network solutions offer sophisticated tracing capabilities. For this installment, I’ll look at the network system performance and scalability of our utility solutions. Let’s get started.
Architecture for Better System Performance and Display
Application and system architecture are critical to performance. By moving network data and business rules into an open relational database management system, our utility network management solutions are open and designed to support high-volumes of data and user workflows. Our solutions can be classified as a good Oracle citizen, which means that our performance greatly depends on the performance of your Oracle database. This is how systems should be architected. A GIS should not be a “bad” database citizen in that it adds middleware, which causes performance to suffer.
The geospatial architecture of our network solutions provides exceptional displays performance while allowing the primary storage and maintenance of the geospatial information in the relational database. This is done through dynamic display caching of the network information. Our solutions were caching years before commercial map providers like Google and BING made it an industry standard for display performance. We’ve also implemented a sophisticated delta mechanism that keeps data presentation dynamically up to date with real-time changes. Our network solutions allow users to have the best of relational database technology coupled with the high-performance display necessary for large enterprise geospatial implementations.
Scalability for Enhanced Data and User Workflows
At any given time, there could be a large or small number of users inside a GIS. As more users are in an application and adding data to the system, performance lag, session timeouts, and other computing issues can keep users from performing tasks. Most of the time, this is a scalability issue. As mentioned above, our solution is a good Oracle citizen. This simply means if you want to have a successful user experience, you should have your database setup properly, maintain proper database indexes, and maintain current statistics on data tables. In other words, basic database tuning and maintenance. Our solutions accomplish this by working directly with the database and not through any middleware.
Our network management solutions are configured to leverage database server utilization, which stabilizes databases and ensures reliable user access times. For example, Intergraph G/Technology regularly tests with a fully loaded Oracle database comprised of 35 million complex network features, 12 million land-base features, and more than 275 million records in a single enterprise database. To this database, we then simulate 800 users performing these tests every minute; 55 new feature placements, 39 edits, 8 user logons, 150 feature reviews, 75 find operations, 12.5 query operation, 12.5 network traces and other query and reporting functions. After running for 7 hours, more than 200,000 new database records were added and over 1500 complex network reports generated. During these tests, the database remained stable, there were reliable user access times and the response times were similar to when there was no load on the system. The sheer volume and complexity of today’s networks require performance and scalability. G/Technology is a proven solution for your enterprise.
If you would like to know more about the performance and scalability of our utility network management solutions, contact me. Or visit our utility products page. Tune in next week, where I will version management.
Mike Baker is an executive consultant for Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure's utilities and communications solutions. With more than 25 years of GIS experience, Mike has provided consulting services to many customers in various industries, with emphasis on utilities during his 20-plus years at Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure.