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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Oracle Database 10g and Motorola

From ORACLE Magazine:

Flexibility is also an important requirement for global communications leader Motorola, particularly for the underlying data model contained in Motorola's database. The company's Biometrics Solutions, a division of its Government and Enterprise Mobility Solutions (GEMS) unit, has provided automated fingerprint and palm-print identification systems, inkless live-scan stations, and mobile fingerprint capture solutions to government and enterprise customers around the world for more than three decades.

The latest generation of the Biometrics Solutions division's Printrak Biometric Identification Solution (BIS) is an integrated suite of applications that currently runs on Oracle Database 10g and is used by law enforcement, government, and civil agencies in more than 37 countries. All new installations of Printrak BIS will be deployed on Oracle Database 10g Release 2.

Printrak BIS relies on Oracle Text to handle indexing and processing of the massive amounts of data that flow through the system. Although Printrak BIS is sometimes referred to generically as an "automated fingerprint identification system," the system processes much more than fingerprints. For example, a typical Printrak BIS for law enforcement manages information related to criminal investigations, while for customers outside of law enforcement—school districts or casinos, for example, where job applicants may nonetheless be cross-checked against criminal databases as part of the employment screening process—the system holds data associated with applicants, rather than criminals. Besides fingerprint information related to a criminal investigation or a job application, a BIS system may also include palm prints, facial images, iris images, signatures, audio clips, or demographic information.

"Each customer requires a different schema for the demographic and case- or applicant-related information they store, so we use XML for maximum flexibility," says Aris Prassinos, distinguished member of technical staff for Motorola's Biometrics Solutions division. The typical Printrak BIS system stores several million rows containing XML data with several thousand rows added or updated each day. For example, one Printrak BIS system stores about 10 million rows of search XML data averaging 2 to 3K in length, with each row containing about 50 XML elements. Considering that a 1,000-ppi scan of a palm can comprise several megabytes, it's not surprising that the typical Motorola Printrak BIS database system is large—"anywhere from 1, 2, or 3 terabytes is quite common," says Prassinos.

Motorola's system relies heavily on all the automated management features of Oracle Database 10g, from automatic memory management to undo management and checkpoint tuning, says Prassinos. Many Printrak BIS customer sites don't have in-house resources to tune and manage the system after it's set up and running, he explains, so the automated management features of Oracle Database 10g "are enormously important to our customers, who rarely have the staff to support our systems."

Furthermore, "it's futile to spend a lot of time tuning up front, when in a matter of months the workload is completely different," says Prassinos. "With the automatic tuning and management features built into Oracle Database 10g, the system adjusts itself over time." Starwood's Nanda agrees, noting that with Oracle Database 10g Release 2, administration is "even simpler than before."...

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