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Case Studies

CHFS Migrates Off Oracle to SQL Server Platform


The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is home to Kentucky’s human services and health care programs. This includes Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services, and the Department for Public Health. When CHFS needed to reduce their licensing and operational costs, improve performance and scalability and enhance the manageability of their database operations they turned to Scalability Experts (SE) for advice and a solution.


SE recommended that they move off Oracle and migrate to the Microsoft SQL Server to lower their yearly costs and take advantage of a more efficient and robust data management platform. There were many hurdles to smoothly migrating off Oracle onto SQL Server.  This included:

  • Many of their applications were custom written in house applications that were primarily written in .NET
  • They also had multiple versions of Oracle Databases in production
  • They had third party code generation components
  • The databases also stored some of the most sensitive personal data of the residents of Kentucky so data security was of the utmost importance
  • Embedded dynamic PLSQL in the Application layer
  • High Availability requirements and performance were highly critical
  • Hardware Sizing for SQL Server was Key - New Architecture recommendation needed to achieve Oracle like ‘Big Iron’ Performance and Scalability

SE successfully performed a Migration Assessment for Kentucky CHFS using their unique methodologies, tools and best practices that have been matured over the last 11 years.  The assessment analyzed the CHFS current environment, defined their future state and provided recommendations and a roadmap to successfully migrate off Oracle while mitigating any risk.  Providing a road map helps ensure that the actual implementation happens on time, within budget and with the highest quality of execution.  Some of the critical data these migrations address 

  • Identified common issues for the target databases
  • Resolution for the above issues in pseudo code or samples
  • Review of application level changes required if any
  • Guidance on the amount of effort required for the migration of the target databases broken down into hours and stages
  • Guidance on monitoring the environment once migrated

Jayarama Marella, Sr. Database Administrator, was so impressed with the SE assessment work that he volunteered to provide testimony on a Microsoft and HP field facing  webinar conducted by SE that reviewed the work performed at CHFS.  During the webinar Marella said, “We had a great experience with Scalability Experts.  They did great work and we are very happy. They have a wonderful resource of people and talent”.  



SQL Server is capable of supporting mission critical applications and provides the same level of high availability and performance that is expected from far more expensive Oracle ‘Big Iron’ all while being far simpler and less costly to manage.  This innate competitive difference between Oracle and SQL Server provided the impetus for SE’s migration assessment and implementation win. 

Based on the in-depth results and guidance provided from the assessment engagement SE is now implementing and finishing up the actual “GO LIVE” migration for CHFS.  The results of migrating to SQL Server CHFS will reduce CHFS licensing and operational costs, improve performance and scalability, and enhance the manageability of their database operations.