Confessions of a Leading Retail Chain

Managing over 1100 Decentralised SQL Instances with Speed and Resiliency

The Challenge

Peter Gace is the Group Systems Manager for a large JSE-listed retail organisation, headquartered in South Africa.

Peter and his team are tasked with supporting over 1100 SQL Instances dispersed across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Supporting such a widely distributed SQL landscape naturally brings many challenges and is usually very resource and time intensive.

They first tried their own method but it was a slow process and took days to get back all the required data.

Peter, with the Group IT executives and CIO, then decided on Conductor4SQL as their preferred database management tool to better administer and synchronise their database environment.

Software solutions provider EnterpriseWorx implemented the solution.

The Solution

Conductor4SQL is a database software solution that helps organisations with a large SQL Server footprint to manage their environment remotely in a more effective and efficient manner with guaranteed resiliency.

The solution provides a wide range of functionality at a fraction of the price of similar SQL monitoring and alerting tools.

It enables organisations to efficiently connect, manage, synchronise, monitor and communicate with an unlimited number of Microsoft SQL instances for an unlimited number of databases from a single console.

Security, auditing, governance, task automation, system standardisation and real-time data synchronisation are standard features of the product.

Core to the tool is the message queue platform, which provides guaranteed message delivery. This ensures that the system will continue to resend failed messages, whether due to network or server issues or even power failures.

As soon as there is a stable connection, the desired tasks will execute in the correct order. It greatly reduces the demand for human intervention and exception management.

In addition to the comprehensive functionality and resiliency, Conductor4SQL provides several levels of security, privacy, robust system standardisation, reports and system auditing.

Centralised data synchronisation greatly reduces the time and effort needed for traditional database administration, avoiding the need to hire additional database administrators.

Clients now have direct visibility into their IT operations, enabling them to make decisions quickly should they encounter any problems.

Conductor4SQL is an early warning system that there are potential issues. It identifies differences in the table structures, defaults, primary and foreign keys etc.

More importantly, it identifies and addresses the discrepancies before they become a major issue.

The retail giant is also using the Data Syncing features that allow the data to be updated in real time to a central master database.

It is currently using it for selective master data tables with the intention of expanding it to include all master data tables. This enables them to immediately identify differences which can be addressed immediately.

Confessions of a Leading Retail Chain

“What I started to do via my own methods was a slow process and took days to get back all the required data. With Conductor4SQL, I can do the same process within a couple of minutes,” says Peter Gace – Group Systems Manager

Conductor4SQL neutralizes the need to connect to each store database individually and allows for mass scale SQL tasks to be executed with a click of a button.

“Conductor4SQL identifies differences in the table structures, defaults, primary and foreign keys etc. What a pleasure to identify and address the discrepancies before they become a major issue for us,” Gace explains.

In a large multi-store environment, standardisation of distributed databases is an essential factor in ensuring quality control, operational efficiencies and customer satisfaction.

Conductor4SQL provides the ability to efficiently compare and fix any discrepancies throughout the entire database landscape.

Data Synchronisation is another feature of Conductor4SQL being used by the retailer, it provides a snapshot of data, from any database tables across multiple servers in a real-time fashion. This data can be used for many purposes such as transaction matching, reporting and archiving.

Conductor4SQL also provides bi-directional data synchronisation for pushing master or configuration data from central server down to store level.

Gace points to their current use of the Data Synchronisation feature. “We are also using the Data Syncing features that allow the data to be updated in real-time to a central master database. We currently use it for selective master data tables with the intention of expanding it to include all master data tables. This enables us to immediately identify differences which we can then address.”

Adding Value through Technology

EnterpriseWorx is extremely satisfied at how the relationship between the two companies has grown. There has been a clear need in the emerging markets for a tool that can solve the issues relating to the management of a large decentralised database environment.

Conductor4SQL is the answer to these problems – ensuring a secure, resilient and robust middleware solution that gives the organisation the tools they need to seamlessly manage the environment in an automated way, resulting in more time and resources available for business critical demands.

EnterpriseWorx managing director Michael De Andrade says being able to partner with such a well-known and respected retail chain has added credibility to their client base. “We are very passionate about adding value to our clients and we look forward to building a long and successful relationship in the future.”

Gace affirms this: “The EnterpriseWorx team has always been very willing to discuss any new features that we deem to be necessary. What a wonderful team to be in partnership with.”

The Retail Chain has seen immediate benefits from the product, ranging from improved resource efficiency right through to cost savings and reduced time to value in all areas of their SQL database management and store support functions.

“This product has paid for itself in the benefits that we have immediately obtained,” Gace concludes.

The Result

Collection of required store data now takes minutes instead of days.

Fast identification and resolution of database discrepancies before they become a major problem down the line.

Headaches relating to the support of over 1100 databases have been alleviated.

It has become the early warning system for any potential issues.


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