Higher education provider Apollo Group is using Oracle systems to help streamline the IT that supports student services teams at its higher education subsidiaries.

Apollo is a private education provider at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels, through its subsidiaries University of Phoenix, Apollo Global, Institute for Professional Development and College for Financial Planning.

To support its subsidiaries' large and diverse student populations, Apollo Group needed to ensure its technology infrastructure, legacy hardware and software all performed efficiently and with minimal downtime.

To support its Oracle E-Business Suite deployment, Apollo is using the Oracle Exadata system to speed up strategic reporting, enabling business users to access key insights in about an hour, rather than waiting overnight for reports to generate.

In addition, Apollo said it is using Oracle's Sun ZFS Storage Appliance to provide a "high-performance, highly available and scalable" storage environment for Oracle Exadata backup and recovery.

Using the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance, Apollo has shrunk its backup window from more than 24 hours to less than 40 minutes for a full backup of a 4TB (terabyte) database. It says the result is a more reliable online service for students who rely on the infrastructure for their coursework.

The Sun ZFS Storage Appliance has also enabled Apollo to reduce its disaster recovery time and has helped reduce cloning time by one-third for its development and test environment.

Exadata and Sun ZFS have also also provided "significant savings" in data centre space, power and cooling, said Apollo.

Michael Sajor, CIO at Apollo Group, said: "Streamlining our e-business suite infrastructure on Oracle engineered systems enables our student-facing teams to reduce time spent on tedious - but mission-critical - tasks, so they can focus on strategic issues that promote our goal of a better educated and prepared workforce."