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Challenges in Managing Complex Enterprise Applications and On-Premises Infrastructure

ETRM applications such as Endur is a highly complex application that plays a central role in a company’s vital business operations. Managing complex enterprise applications necessitates specialized expertise to maximize their potential and ensure optimal performance.

Scaling an on-premises infrastructure entails substantial downtime and disrupts the workflow of application users. Ensuring seamless integration and interoperability between different applications, databases, and technologies while safeguarding on-premises hardware, network, and physical elements can be expensive and reliant on human intervention.

Moreover, keeping complex enterprise applications and on-premises infrastructure up to date with patches, bug fixes, and upgrades is a continuous task. It requires careful planning, testing, and coordination to minimize disruptions and ensure the entire system remains stable and compatible with other components. This leads to setting up and expanding or upgrading components within one’s domain which is complex and pricy.

Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud

Support Landscape and SLAs ​

Everyday operational challenges such as end-of-day (EOD) processes, application performance, and critical job failures become less tangible. Additional support is available to promptly resolve issues raised by the business while adhering to minimal service level agreements (SLAs).

User Base ​

By identifying geographical locations, defining system uptime expectations, and considering the number of users connecting to Endur, a more rigorous and secure IAM (Identity and Access Management) control can be established.

Data Analytics Landscape

Relying on Endur transactional data for reporting and analytics purposes, such as VaR calculations and Risk Reporting tools, becomes significantly more streamlined and manageable as the occurrence of points of failure is minimized.

Code Customizations​

The frequency and intricacy of managing code changes to accommodate evolving business requirements are streamlined. Deployments can be automated, and maintaining a chronological record of updates for any component of the application becomes straightforward.

Future Needs​

Assessing the impact of upcoming short-term integration needs between Endur and other systems, and determining the necessary customizations for seamless interfacing becomes straightforward. Configuring the requirements of each individual application to connect to the cloud is consolidated at a single endpoint with cloud migrating.

Factors to Consider when Choosing Between Self-Owned and 3rd Party-Owned Cloud

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) and PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) are two cloud computing models offering different infrastructure and application management levels.

IaaS provides virtualized computing resources, giving users control over infrastructure and application environments. PaaS, on the other hand, abstracts infrastructure complexities, offering a platform for application development, deployment, and management without worrying about underlying infrastructure details. 

Ultimately, the choice between IaaS and PaaS depends on the business’s specific requirements and preferences.

Consider the following factors when choosing the most suitable cloud solution for your business needs:

Self-owned (IaaS)

3rd Party-owned (PaaS)

Data Hosting

Control your data hosting – cloud subscription and geography, tighter security and more control over various component of the infrastructure.

Cloud subscription and geography are controlled by the Cloud Provider and you have much lesser control over the customization individual components of the cloud.

Custom Code Support

Tighter control and security on enhancements, bug fixes, and deployments with seamless integration with CI/CD processes.

Custom code hosting on PaaS servers necessitates extra configuration between client and provider, increasing reliance on PaaS for CI/CD integration and ensuring a graceful deployment.

Integration

Easy integration with Endur, ERP, supply chain management (SCM), production scheduling, financial reporting tools, and datalakes.

Additional connections must be built with hosted infrastructure to communicate to PaaS provider to integrate these applications.

Maintenance & Security

Automated Endur maintenance and monitoring using inbuilt cloud features and tighter control of application security.

Dependency on PaaS provider like – SLA for maintenance, customization, and less control of application security.

Compliance & Auditing​

Configured based on SOX compliance and auditing requirements.

Dependency on PaaS support to cater to SOX compliance and auditing.

Cost Consideration

Provides the flexibility to migrate your software licenses, as-is with minimal or no modifications required, ensuring a smoother migration process to the cloud without repurchasing them.

May require license optimization for your current license or re-architecting your applications to align with the platform’s usage model, potentially leading to cost increases or license adjustments.

Comprehensive Cloud Services Offered by Value Creed

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Moving Your CTRM Database from On-Prem Oracle to Cloud-based SQL Server

Run Smart CTRM/ETRM platform managed services enable application managers to be more proactive in resolving reporting and processing errors in advance of your daily start. In this post, we examine the dominance of Oracle, while unlocking Microsoft SQL Server’s comparable functionality, cost savings, and scalability achieved by moving your on-premise solution to the cloud.  

The truth is – for much of the last decade – Microsoft’s SQL Server was viewed as less expensive and less sophisticated than Oracle. Since then, however, MS SQL Server has closed the gaps in features and power, while maintaining its cost leadership position and delivering distinct advantages in terms of ease of use and uptime. 

Reasons to Move Your CTRM Platform Database to SQL on Azure

Cost

Value Creed has helped many clients make this conversion and has found significant initial and ongoing cost savings. Microsoft’s unit license cost is about 15 percent of Oracle’s. In addition, real-time-bidding costs with SQL average $10,000 less per year. In total, a typical on-premise CTRM system that costs $75,000 the first year running on Oracle would cost only about $15,000 on Microsoft SQL on the Azure cloud.

Compatibility

The ubiquitous Microsoft workflow – the de facto industry standard – also makes it easier for technicians to troubleshoot, diagnose, and debug communications problems between the application and the database. Basing SQL Server in Azure brings Microsoft’s technical expertise to bear, making it easier to find support. As a third-party, Java-driven product, Oracle’s diagnostic and repair process can be less straightforward.

Compatibility

The most widely-used CTRM platforms were developed using Microsoft technology, so you can be sure it will not only work with Windows, it has been optimized to perform at its best using the Microsoft interface.

User Experience

Because Oracle originally developed more features and capabilities it necessarily required additional complexity. That makes it more difficult for many people to use. On the other hand, most users are familiar with Microsoft interfaces, making SQL Server more intuitive.

Oracle to SQL Database Conversion with Value Creed 

Value Creed’s Run Smart™ CTRM managed services deliver optimal performance based on your objectives, data environment, and the number of users. Backed by Value Creed’s expertise, Run Smart™ streamlines SQL database conversions and helps commodities traders reap the cost-savings and efficiencies inherent in a cloud-platform database.

Our database conversions and data migration from Oracle on-premise to SQL on Azure incorporates elegant back-end integrations with a total workflow plan that saves you money both during the SQL conversion and throughout the life of the project. We implement a multi-step process that coordinates efforts throughout your organization. 

Take Your CTRM Platform to the Cloud 

Value Creed’s dedicated professionals and proven Run Smart™ approach gives you the confidence that your switch to SQL Server will be completed professionally and that the system will operate flawlessly on the cloud. We start with a holistic diagnosis of your current database situation, including the conceptualization of how your organization’s needs should be met through the new system. 

From there, that analysis will inform how we convert schema, scripts, and applications so they integrate seamlessly with the cloud-based SQL Server. Once data is migrated, we perform iterative testing, tuning, and customization to guarantee your database and server are fully functional from day one.  

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and Cloud Migration

Why Move to the Cloud?

Modern CTRM database management demands flexibility in scaling, fast data processing, and cost efficiency. Cloud-native solutions can provide these benefits with more power, more storage, and lower costs.  

Advantages of Migrating CTRM Software from On-Premise to the Cloud

Moving your existing CTRM software to the cloud brings several key advantages over remaining on-premise. 

On-Premise To Cloud Migration

Faster Deployments

Bug fixes and new functionalities are provided automatically by Value Creed’s experts.

Less IT Resources Demand

Your in-house teams no longer have to allocate resources to on-premise CTRM management.
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Low Implementation Costs

Value Creed’s experienced consultants work effectively with every budget and platform for efficient implementations.
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Savings On Licensing Fees

No third-party software, hardware, or upfront licensing fees are required to move your CTRM to the cloud.

What To Consider Before Migrating to the Cloud

Retaining Applications

If an existing application provides functional value, is inexpensive to run, and aligns with your company’s technology strategy, it may be worth retaining as is and not moving to the cloud. 

Retiring Applications

Oftentimes, changing business needs result in underutilized and/or unnecessary applications. Consider getting rid of existing applications that aren’t being utilized at a high rate or no longer offer needed capabilities to avoid paying for unused capacity. 

Re-Purchasing or Replacing Applications

If an application can be replaced with a SaaS solution, it can lead to reduced runtime costs. Ultimately, you need to consider the customization, integration, and process options before making that call. 

Re-Hosting Applications

Moving functionality to a cloud-native solution means switching to a pay-as-you-go plan. Simply shifting applications to the cloud as an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) when they’re not optimized for it can be cost prohibitive, running 24 hours a day at peak load. Assess whether the application be consumed on a subscription basis or outsourced to reduce load on your cloud infrastructure.

Re-Factoring Applications

If system performance may be hampered by on-premise infrastructure, determine if an application can be moved to the cloud. Calculate the impact on capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operating expenses (OPEX), as well as long-term and day-to-day costs. Consider whether you’ll be adding new products, geographies, trade types or requiring new reports. Fortunately, cloud infrastructure has little to no upfront capital expenditure. A cloud native solution also allows for elasticity, automatically adjusting to load increases or reduced usage, creating a huge cost management advantage

Re-Platforming Applications

If you can upgrade an application or replace key back-end components to enhance existing infrastructure by employing DevOps, it can result in cost benefits in terms of system runtime and maintenance overhead. Incorporating an infrastructure as code mindset into a cloud environment greatly increases storage and computing capabilities. 

Advantages of SQL Database Conversion and Cloud Migration

SQL delivers cloud-based processing power at a third of Oracle’s database hosting cost for the same hosting capacity. Switching to SQL as part of your digital transformation creates value in several ways, including: 

How Value Creed Helped Major Utility Company Reduce Infrastructure
Costs by 60%

Powerful Outcomes

  • 60% reduction in long-term infrastructure costs
  • 99% User Acceptance Test pass rate
  • 2 hour settlement run times reduced to just twenty minutes.
All this, in 11 short months.

Powerful Outcomes

  • 60% reduction in long-term infrastructure costs
  • 99% User Acceptance Test pass rate
  • 2 hour settlement run times reduced to just twenty minutes.

All this, in 11 short months.

Leave Cloud Hosting and Monitoring to the Pros

Value Creed’s Run Smart™ CTRM Cloud Monitoring and Maintenance ensures your instance is up and running with a 99% uptime guarantee and more.

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Moving to the Cloud? SQL Advantages

Timely data and flexible pay and scale on-demand databases are in demand to serve modern CTRM database management needs. In fact, Forbes has determined that by 2025 more than 80 percent of companies will employ cloud-based commodity trading software to optimize and expedite their workflows. In addition, Azure Cloud users take advantage of purpose-built platform integrations and responsive customer support from Microsoft.

80%

Of CTRM Platforms will be
Cloud-Based by 2025

More Power; More Storage; Lower Cost

The cloud solves the storage problem, but energy and commodities traders often receive a nasty sticker shock when they decide to move their Oracle database from on-premises deployment to the cloud as part of their CTRM upgrade process. For many, Oracle cloud deployment is cost-prohibitive, with a unit license costing as much as $60,000. SQL delivers cloud-based processing power at about $10,000 with RTB fees of around $5,000 – a third of Oracle’s rate.

Oracle Database Hosting Cost
$60,000 + for Oracle cloud hosting

SQL Database Hosting Cost
$10,000 – $15,000 for the same hosting capacity, and
deployed in the Azure Cloud

The licensing fee for Oracle cloud deployment increases exponentially, leading many to make a clean break and switch to the SQL server as part of their digital transformation to Azure Cloud. This creates value in several ways:

Here’s what that looks like in the CTRM sphere

Value Creed’s Oracle-to-SQL Service Drives a Major Utility Company’s Digital Transformation

Powerful Outcomes

  • 60% reduction in long-term infrastructure costs
  • 99% User Acceptance Test pass rate
  • 2 hour settlement run times reduced to just twenty minutes.
All this, in 11 short months.

Data Conversion and Cloud Migration Challenges

Naturally, Oracle makes switching out of its relational database management system (RDBMS) as complicated as possible. Only an experienced conversion and migration consultant should be entrusted to handle these intricate and nuanced tasks:

Data Normalization is Hard

Transforming the unique method Oracle uses to record, format, and store data in unique packages, codes, arrays, and tables to Azure SQL standards.
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Testing & Affirming Data Integrity is Time Consuming

Testing and iteration of conversion and migration tasks to ensure perfect compatibility and data integrity before phased or wholesale transfer can be implemented.
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Managed

Aligning Data Structure with Business Process is a Must

Configuration of table, column, row, and cell relationships based on the client’s business requirements to make indexing and querying as efficient as possible.
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Value Creed: Your Trusted SQL Database Conversion and Cloud Migration Partner

Engaging with Value Creed gives commodity management software users a partner that is experienced in both upgrades and cloud management to ensure quick implementation and full realization of benefits of their digital transformation:

Progressive Timeline

On-Budget Deployment

Testing & Extension Integration

Efficient Resource Allocation

Risk Mitigation

Leave Cloud Hosting and Monitoring to the Pros

Value Creed’s Run Smart™ CTRM Cloud Monitoring and Maintenance ensures your instance is up and running with a 99% uptime guarantee and more.

Top Energy Companies Rely on Value Creed

Value Creed’s Oracle to SQL Cloud Migration Process

With decades of expertise in CTRM/ETRM platforms, Value Creed’s team of functional and technical experts define a migration roadmap inclusive of business processes, workflows, data format requirements, integrations, extensions and destination data format requirements.  This thorough approach ensures shorter testing cycles and seamless migration from on-premise data stores to cloud-based data stores.  Rely on Value Creed’s proven cloud migration approach founded on continuous improvement.

Value Creed Cloud Migration Process

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and Cloud Migration

Importance of CTRM Functional Testing During Cloud Migration

At Value Creed, one of our core services is assisting our clients in migrating their CTRM infrastructure to scalable, flexible, and more cost-effective cloud environments. Cloud Migration offers significant advantages vs. on-premises owned and maintained servers:

That said, the cloud migration process requires planning, forethought, and significant regression testing to ensure continued seamless operations.

Comprehensive CTRM Functional Testing

Migrating traditionally on-premise applications like CTRMs is a major step to a modern technical architecture. We affirm this decision by performing a multi-faceted testing process for a successful migration. In our practice, we use the following testing phases:

Functional testing is done for quality evaluation of applications during and after conversion, to uncover defects, and to assess the production readiness of migrated applications. Functional testing helps to reduce the attendant risks after going live. 

Multiple Dimensions of Functional Testing for CTRM Cloud Migrations

Specific to a cloud implementation, the focus of functional testing includes several additional facets for consideration beyond the scope of typical extension/upgrade testing. These include the following:

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Performance Testing

We evaluate performance and response time and check scalability factors including key processes such as EOD valuations, settlements, risk reports, and ERP interfaces.

Integration Testing

We check compatibility with third-party applications to ensure interface connectivity in the cloud.

Business Process Testing

We define desired results and correct calculations of key outputs such as P&L, exposures, and receivables/payables from trade to settle.

User Experience

Cloud migration functional testing improves operations efficiency and streamlines workflows to enhance user experience.

Security testing

Cloud migration enables CTRM platforms to make key data more available to the entire user base; complimented by our security testing.

Value Creed’s Cloud Testing Value

Value Creed’s CTRM Functional experts follow a well-integrated process by documenting end-to-end business test case scenarios. These business scenarios are designed to not only focus on the current migration  but also keep future business requirements in mind, planning for the future growth of the business.

We utilize best-in-class automated and manual test administration and reporting tools such as QMetry and Test Complete to ensure full visibility of test cases, bug identification and remediation, and reporting across your organization.

Value Creed’s CTRM experts have decades’ worth of successful go lives, with 100 percent test pass rates.  We assist in all areas of testing:

Functional Testing Results

Providing manual testing results

Professional Bug Tracking & Fix

Bug tracking and resolution

Documenting Scenarios

Documenting contract-to-cash scenarios according to business requirements

Writing Automated Testing Scripts

Creating and uploading test scripts to Qmetry

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A well-known chain of gasoline service stations improved its performance, accessibility and security with CTRM Cloud Services and CTRM Cloud Infrastructure and Monitoring. Thanks to Value Creed’s expertise, the client has a future-proof infrastructure stack leveraging the flexibility of the cloud, as well as full ownership and control over its data.

The results:

  • 100% accessible from anywhere using a custom virtual desktop
  • 24/7/365 support delivered with Value Creed and the client as a team
  • New security controls for secure cloud deployment with up-to-date security

Learn more about how cloud CTRM software transformed the client’s digital strategy.

Read the full case study:

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