Dimension Systems recently completed an upgrade to the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) system at a major university. As a project manager, many of the technical aspects of the project were similar to things I have encountered in the past; however, there were some challenges that were unique to this project.
Steps like performance tuning for the data conversion were similar to past projects. The size of the organization and the nature of the organization’s EPM added complexity to the project. Also, getting the “owners” of various source modules to feeding into the EPM database to collaborate was challenging. “Owners” were reluctant to commit time and resources for integration as well as unit, system, and load testing. We managed to get through these potential “mine fields” by diligently following the project plan and having the attitude that “the customer is always right”.
In addition, the implementation team met with surprising “push back” when we suggested new ways to enhance the overall performance of the database. To my surprise, the “go live” took longer than what we experienced during our test moves, even though we had presented various solutions for improving processor performance.
Another challenge was with high memory consumption on the appserver domain. With a 64-bit installation on a Solaris 64-bit system, and up to 40 plus domain processes – each of which consumed as much as 1.4 GB of memory, we found that we quickly ran out of swap space, so much so, that it impacted other production modules – a critical problem that required an urgent solution! We tuned and tested some of the domain parameters and load testing enabled us to set the upper bounds for the total number of ACE engines used concurrently. The client’s needs were at about 140 concurrent users, each one locking and using an ACE instance.
Finally, we had an extremely “tight” window of time to complete the upgrade. That said, the implementation team managed to finish on time and under budget. It was a lively, challenging project with many moving parts and pieces. I am delighted with the results and, at the end of the day, quite pleased to have one more upgrade under my belt!
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