Scaling to Data Demands and Growth
The explosive growth of information is the biggest challenge faced by the database administration team at Swiss Medical Group. The main problem was the low processing capacity. Additionally, the sector is characterized by seasonality: Demand falls off dramatically in the summer, but when faced with situations such as the H1N1 influenza, the quantity of information to process grows rapidly and significantly increases the number of queries. To accommodate this, says del Piano, “We had to manually manipulate the load on different servers. Now, with the Sybase ASE Cluster Edition solution, it is practically automatic, and it is now possible to administer this storage capacity from a single console. Previously, to improve the processing capacity, we had to invest too much time fine tuning of SQL statements across all the applications to better take advantage of the infrastructure. Now this new architecture enables the applications to grow along with the evolution of the business.”
Three Months to Implementation
The implementation was developed through an interdisciplinary team made up of hardware specialists, the IT groups of Swiss Medical, and Sybase Professional Services. The project had a time frame of three months, in which the most outstanding milestones were the migration of the corporate data center to an external provider, a change to IBM Power System, and the migration of each of the databases to the new version of ASE 15 Cluster Edition.
The migration plan centered on identifying the applications that would make use of the cluster, verifying their fault tolerance (failover and failback) within the framework of the new cluster architecture, and the specific administration tasks for tuning the database.
Eduardo del Piano asserts that previous positive experience significantly influenced his decision to use Sybase, “We diagnosed what was happening in our business, and we built a scenario of growth for the coming years, including the distinct characteristics that we needed from the solutions. When we presented the requirements to the Sybase team, they presented us with a very tempting solution. We chose Sybase because we continue to have confidence in the people and the organization, as we have had for the past twelve years. We did not evaluate other options. We already had an investment with Sybase and we wanted to keep getting the most out of it.”
Reduced Costs and Scalable Processing Capacity
The main achievement of the implementation was the reduction of the costs of both the operation and the technical administration of the infrastructure, in addition to the increased speed of query responses. With the addition of three IBM Power Systems 570 Servers, the solution has also made it possible for the storage capacity to mirror the growth of the business. That is, that when faced with new needs and added hardware, there will be no sudden need for large investments.
Upon increasing the processing capacity of the various applications, response times are dramatically reduced. This increases productivity and enables us to give better service to the prepaid customer.
Scaling Growth into the Future
Looking back, SMG needed to make a technological investment every two or three years. The newly-implemented Sybase ASE Cluster Edition infrastructure will grow with the company for longer periods of time, making it possible for the organization to grow without frequent capacity investments. As a result, the growth in the processing capacity will increase along with the growth of the business.