Our client, a leading North American gas and electric utility company, wanted to modernize their business processes to take advantage of new CTRM system efficiencies with a goal to help their customers transition to a clean energy future.

To realize this goal, our client needed an experienced partner like Value Creed capable of optimizing and upgrading their CTRM system to ensure all new releases could be maintained across the organization quickly and efficiently.

TransAlta owns, operates, and develops a diverse fleet of electrical power generation assets in Canada, the United States, and Australia with a focus on long-term shareholder value. The company provides municipalities, medium and large industries, businesses, and utility customers with clean, affordable, energy-efficient, and reliable power. TransAlta is one of Canada’s largest producers of wind power and Alberta’s largest producer of hydroelectric power.

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

In the former post in our series, 5 Reasons for Choose Run Smart CTRM Managed Services, we provided you with a perspective on how 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

SQL Server on the Microsoft Azure cloud offers several reasons utilities, oil and gas, hedge funds, and other commodity traders should consider converting their CTRM databases from Oracle to SQL Server:

  • CostValue 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 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.
  • 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.

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.  

Want The Full Story? 

This is post #3 in our series, 5 Reasons for Choosing Run Smart™ CTRM Managed Services.  Learn more about key reasons for moving to Value Creed’s Run Smart Managed services with theses former posts:

The prevalence of having financial commodity positions cleared through a broker has elevated the amount of collateral margin that companies may have tied up in broker accounts. Margin balances can represent a significant liquidity challenge for companies, thus warranting strong controls and reconciliation. Visibility into and automation of margin calculations for current and prospective positions can not only help streamline internal processes but also help companies maximize the interest they earn on their cash. Please read on to hear how our technical solution can help your business optimize your margin.

In response to a variety of issues contributing to the 2008 financial crisis, the Dodd-Frank Act created several new regulations around swap and derivative clearing. With these new regulations, the importance and usage of clearing systems and posting margin were significantly enhanced. The CME serves an important role as a clearing agent to its members and their related clients.

Use Case: Clearing Margin Positions Via An Exchange With Span Calculators

Clearing and margining positions via an exchange involves the parties within a transaction making margin deposits with the clearinghouse (CME in this case).  The margin deposits help cover a counterparty’s credit risk to the cleared transactions. The amount of margin required for a given position or portfolio can fluctuate with the ever-changing pricing and volatility in specific markets, but generally equates to 3-12% of the notional value of a position.  Maintenance margin on nearby NYMEX futures on natural gas and crude oil is around 4-5% of notional value. The interest rates paid on margin balances are typically quite low at well under 50 basis points. A counterparty may be asked to make additional margin deposits or may be entitled to reduce their margin balance on a daily basis with any significant changes to market pricing or volatility.

The CME has developed a variety of tools to enable the automation of a counterparty’s margin calculation.  The CME ‘SPAN Calculator’ produces the initial and maintenance margin requirements of a portfolio with the inputs of position volumes.  The Value Creed team has experience integrating CTRM positions with the CME SPAN Calculator and enabling rapid reconciliation and visibility into these calculations.  This solution enables automation and streamlined processes including:

  • Downloading clearing broker statements
  • Automates calculation of margin amounts against CTRM positions – existing and prospective
  • Facilitates a reconciliation between broker statement and the CME SPAN calculation
  • Streamlines the business process for resolving margin disputes

This solution provides the tools to facilitate a rapid reconciliation of CTRM positions to the margin requirements requested by a clearing broker.  The benefits of using this solution include:

  • Avoidance of losing interest on carrying excessive margin balances
  • Verification of margin requests swiftly before sending additional margin
  • Visibility into future changes in margin against prospective positions.  Thus, enabling margin liquidity forecasting & planning.
  • Reduction in effort & time to reconcile margin requirements to a broker statement

About Value Creed
Founded in 2016, Value Creed brings a new model exclusively to the CTRM Ecosystem. With a focus on improving the effectiveness of CTRM customers in the run and operate phase, Value Creed’s expert-driven Managed Services provides CTRM customers with the expertise to get the most from their system, securely and rapidly move to the cloud and engage with experts to accomplish the support and enhancements that will truly help them achieve their business goals and vision with CTRM. Value is our mantra and promise. We pride ourselves on providing unparalleled value to our clients. Our team of experts leverages their deep energy industry & unparalleled CTRM technical experience to deliver a set of managed services and solutions that improve your return from your CTRM system, improve your users’ experience, and deliver greater value to your organization. Run Smart™, only with Value Creed.

Contact us to hear more about how Value Creed can streamline and optimize your margin liquidity & related processes.

Upgrading to CTRM Horizon 145 is a natural next step for CTRM users, yet many teams evaluating this move are hesitant due to the potential for business disruption, cost overruns and new demands being placed on their in-house staff.  These are real concerns, but there is a better way.  
In this pre-recorded 30-minute educational event, we invited special guest Manish “Manny” Neupane, Director, ETRM Applications with Capital Power Corporation to share  his learnings around his efforts to build a business case, get it funded and streamline implementation.  Value Creed’s Jason Parks, Senior Consultant and Principal CTRM Consultant, who has lead over half-a-dozen upgrades, also shares his best practices for overcoming common challenges and alleviating the risk of project mayhem.

When you can, take a few moments and explore these key points:


#1. There’s not enough room in the budget to justify CTRM Horizon 145

#2. The risk of disruption to daily, business-critical functions is too great

#3. Upgrades come with a lot of uncertainty; therefore remediation and UAT testing can be extensive

#4. It would cause too much strain on our in-house staff to manage testing and remediation the right way

#5. After go-live, if application support is needed, there’s no resource that’s accessible on-demand


Play Video

Frame up what you need to know when you go to develop a business case for moving to the Cloud with this recording of “How To Build The Business Case For Taking CTRM To The Cloud.”

You’ll hear Priyankar Datta, CTRM consultant and Value Creed founder, as he explores “Must Have” takeaways like:

  • Performance Gains: How CTRM in the cloud will improve business value for users and why a “flexible” and “adaptable” IT infrastructure better supports their needs
  • Agility Realized: Ways the cloud allows you to quickly support geographic expansion, pivot and capitalize on new business ventures
  • Upgrades Simplified: Learn why the cloud gives your organization the ability to more rapidly adopt new releases and versions
  • Integration Streamlined: Understand how cloud-to-cloud integration is superior over the traditional on-premise deployment
  • Cost Savings: Realize efficiencies and quantify their effect
  • Finance & Accounting: Learn how cloud offerings are accounted for and how to address this as you construct your business case

Listen now, click below.  

> Special Resource: Checklist for Moving CTRM to the Cloud