Case Study

NASA: Data Virtualization Case Study

Delphix enabled the migration of large legacy databases to Linux with rapid transfer and refresh – at a fraction of the cost of the old hardware

NASA Delivers Operational Efficiency and Gains Big Cost Benefits


The NASA Enterprise Applications Competency Center (NEACC) operates and maintains a broad spectrum of NASA's Enterprise Applications, with an emphasis on fully integrating business process expertise with application and technical know-how. A small team of civil servants and approximately 300 support contractors sustain operations, implement new applications and capabilities, and provide business readiness support to the stakeholders and end users. Nine lines of business are served by over 50 applications and a multitude of integration services, all depending on the NEACC to provide continuous operations that meet or exceed established service level measures.

Customer Challenges

Reduced budgets and increased user demands required innovative thinking with regards to operational sustainment at the NEACC. Operational cost reduction and increasing the organization's ability to deliver better, cheaper, faster is the main agency challenge. In order to meet this challenge, several vendors were evaluated. The agency was looking to reduce operational costs associated with the management of the NEACC application environment. Four operational issues were identified: migration from Unix to Linux, the ability to improve database refresh capabilities, faster database recovery and provisioning features.


The Delphix database virtualization technology was evaluated, selected and implemented by the team over a two week period. The Delphix virtual appliance sits between the Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) and the storage tier, serving shared data blocks to all copies and managing the changes unique to each copy. The Delphix virtual appliance is responsible for filtering, orchestrating, and storing blocks as they traverse the network between the RDBMS and the storage tier. Due to its placement between the RDBMS and the storage tier, Delphix is 100% transparent to the end-user application.

Delphix provided a mechanism to reduce operational costs associated with the management of the EACC application environment. Four operational areas were targeted:

1. Migration from Solaris to Linux
a. Delphix provided a mechanism for rapid database transfer/refresh on the Linux platform
b. The solution was able to move data from production to non- production instances in a Linux environment
c. Delphix was able to handle the migration of large databases (TB+) with no downtime or data loss

2. Database refreshes
a. The delivery of a synchronized environment occurred in half the time which resulted in an additional 120 days/year of availability
b. Elimination of steps needed in the legacy system resulted in significant time and resource savings

3. Database recovery
a. Required a full refresh from production for most systems which took 2 days and any work in progress was lost
b. Delphix allowed the rollback/forward of a hosted database in 10-15 minutes with little if any work lost

4. Database provisioning
a. Delphix allowed a new virtual database to be created in 10-15 minutes
b. ERP database environment was delivered in 1 day vs 2 days
c. Procurement database environment could be delivered in 30 minutes


  • Enabled the migration of large legacy databases to Linux with rapid transfer and refresh--at a fraction of the cost of the old hardware

  • Produced an additional 120 days/year availability due to synchronizing efficiencies which yielded huge labor productivity benefits

  • Eliminated lost work during refresh and post processing with rollback/forward features

  • Able to create new databases in 10 minutes vs 2 weeks

  • Reduced 44TB database footprint to 4 TB

  • Eliminated 90% of data footprint resulting in huge data storage savings

Delphix continues to provide new ways to gain efficiency and correct operational issues that drain time and resources. Another initiative is using Delphix to automate the non-production integrated virtual database refresh process and move it to the non-technical group saving huge labor costs. The ease of implementation coupled with the instant benefits make implementing Delphix easily repeatable across NASA.

Sometimes seeing is believing
Especially when we deliver 1000% faster data access