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Case Study Sun International

Ascent to deliver a truly consolidated Microsoft database environment for Sun International

06 Aug 2013

Database Server Consolidation leads to reduction in licensing costs, improved availability, scalability, performance and management.

The larger your database server environment, the more difficult it becomes to proactively manage. To keep such an environment running smoothly, regular maintenance, consistent monitoring and above all efficient optimisation is necessary.

Of course, a large environment also means high licensing costs. With this in mind, Sun International (Sun) entered into a consolidation process designed to reduce the number of enterprise software licences required by the organisation. As the trusted advisor and Sun’s preferred database technology partner, Ascent Technology (Ascent) was the logical choice to conduct this consolidation exercise. The skilled personnel, strong Microsoft focus and the deep understanding of database technologies that Ascent offers fitted Sun’s requirements exactly.

The initial proof of concept was conducted at Carnival City, and was a resounding success. Ascent was able to reduce the number of database servers actively licensed from 17 down to just two, thereby meeting the key goal of the process.

Although the core goals of the consolidation proof of concept were to drive down the organisation’s licensing costs, improve availability, scalability, performance and management, significant additional advantages have been realised. These include a reduction in the overall hardware footprint and the attendant Green IT benefits. A further benefit was the standardising of the SQL platform by upgrading Sun from a Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 environment, to Microsoft SQL Server 2008.

Sun has since indicated that the success of the Carnival City proof of concept means that it will now move forward with its plans for the rest of the group. This will entail tackling the organisation’s database environment across 17 sites and with a total of some 195 servers. Ultimately, Sun hopes to drive its server licences requirement down to somewhere in the region of just 45.

The company points out that its organisational IT strategy is Microsoft-aligned. The first question asked by the business when sourcing new applications or technologies is always whether these are Microsoft based. Thus, the company’s broader goal with the consolidation exercise is to achieve a higher level on the Microsoft Core Infrastructure Optimisation (IO) Framework.

Sun is seeking to move from ‘Basic’ to ‘Rationalised’ on the IO Framework; this means moving from a reactive to a proactive environment. Ascent is therefore involved in implementing an environment that is monitored, virtualised, standardised and thus easier to proactively manage.

Ascent’s credibility and market knowledge, coupled to its strong Microsoft focus means that Sun is confident that its ultimate goal of achieving a better level on the IO Framework will be realised. Although the time frames for the completion of the consolidation project have yet to be decided upon, the company is confident in the skills and experience that Ascent is bringing to the table.

The organisation has already stated that the smooth and seamless consolidation achieved during the proof of concept, means that it has every confidence in Ascent’s ability to achieve the goal of licence reduction, as well as the larger objective of moving Sun up the IO Framework.

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