4-page Case Study
Posted: 4/26/2010
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Eurosport Eurosport Consolidates 27 Database Servers to 2 Using Hyper-V and SQL Server 2008

With more than 240 million viewers in 59 countries, Eurosport Group brings the world of sports to viewers across much of the world. Behind the scenes it manages its information using Microsoft SQL Server database software. When Eurosport wanted to consolidate its database servers and deploy a compression solution, it upgraded to SQL Server 2008 Enterprise (64-bit) running on the Windows Server 2008 Enterprise for 64-Bit Systems operating system. The company used the Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization feature of Windows Server 2008 to consolidate 27 database servers down to just 2 servers running SQL Server 2008. To reduce storage, the company uses the Data Compression and Backup Compression features of SQL Server 2008. Eurosport has gained a lower total cost of ownership from its server consolidation and from other efficiencies gained by building on the Microsoft Application Platform.

Situation

The Eurosport Group is Europe's leading sports entertainment group. Eurosport, the leading pan-European TV channel, is broadcast in 20 languages reaching 118 million homes and 240 million viewers across 59 countries.

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* The new licensing model of SQL Server 2008 Enterprise proved to be very advantageous for our virtualization and consolidation. We saw licensing costs reduced by about 80 percent. *
Stephane Gaude
Manager of Infrastructure, Eurosport Group
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Eurosport HD is the high-definition simulcast of Eurosport. Eurosport 2, the new generation sports channel, broadcasts to 40 million homes in 14 languages across 46 countries. Eurosport 2 HD was launched in August 2009. Eurosport Asia-Pacific reaches 14 countries in the region. Eurosportnews provides up-to-date sports TV news transmitted worldwide. 

Online, Eurosport has a network of dedicated sports Web sites in 10 languages, including recently launched Eurosport Arabia reaching sports fans in the Mideast and North Africa region and award-nominated eurosport.yahoo.com.  Eurosport is ranked as Europe's Number 1 online sports destination and is visited by over 8 million unique users per month (comScore).

Eurosport Mobile offers live streaming, mobile sites and mobile applications in 9 languages providing live sports news and results. Eurosport Events is the group's expert division in the organization, management and promotion of international sporting events.

Coping with the growth that has come from its success, Eurosport IT faced the challenge of scaling up its database and server infrastructure to meet current and future needs, while minimizing the cost of capital expenditures and operational expenditures. The company’s existing infrastructure—based on the Windows Server 2003 operating system and a mix of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 database software—had served Eurosport well. However, Eurosport wanted to consolidate its server infrastructure to achieve a lower total cost of ownership (TCO), while at the same time deploying a compression solution to reduce storage needs. The company also sought a faster development environment, and wanted to find easier reporting and more comprehensive database management solutions.

Solution

Eurosport upgraded its database infrastructure to SQL Server 2008 Enterprise (64-bit) running on Windows Server 2008 Enterprise for 64-Bit Systems. “The migration to SQL Server 2008 from SQL Server 2000, and from SQL Server 2005, went very smoothly,” notes Yann Habrial, Manager of Development at Eurosport Group.

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* The migration to SQL Server 2008 from SQL Server 2000, and from SQL Server 2005, went very smoothly. *
Yann Habrial
Manager of Development, Eurosport Group
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The company reduced the number of physical servers and SQL Server instances from 27 to just 2 by using the Hyper-V feature of Windows Server 2008 to create multiple virtual machines running on the same physical servers. A core component of Hyper-V is Windows hypervisor, a thin layer of software between the hardware and the operating system that allows multiple operating systems to run, unmodified, on a host computer at the same time.

Hyper-V enables virtualization of servers by strong isolation between partitions. It has an inherently secure architecture with minimal attack vulnerability, as it does not contain any third-party device drivers.

Eurosport also took advantage of several features of SQL Server 2008, including:

  • Backup Compression. With SQL Server 2008 Backup Compression, the compression is performed in memory before the data is transferred to disk. Backups run significantly faster since less disk I/O is required. Eurosport is using the Backup Compression feature to reduce the storage required to keep backups online, reducing the overall cost of keeping disk-based backups.
  • Data Compression. SQL Server 2008 helps Eurosport store more data on its hard drives, which means they can spend less on storage systems. That same feature also reduces the number of disk reads the databases must perform—which can degrade performance—by incorporating more data into system memory.
  • Policy-Based Management. New for SQL Server 2008, Policy-Based Management is a framework that helps organizations set and enforce compliance with policies for system configuration, SQL Server databases, and other SQL Server objects. Administered from the SQL Server Management Studio, Policy-Based Management can be used to set and enforce policy for internal and external database developers and administrators.
  • Report Builder 2.0. Report Builder 2.0, a separate installation package released with SQL Server 2008 Feature Pack, delivers intuitive report authoring capabilities to end users.  In addition to offering an enhanced authoring experience for business users, Report Builder 2.0 benefits power users that are looking for a more sophisticated authoring environment.
  • Resource Governor. SQL Server 2008 enables organizations to provide a consistent and predictable response to end users with the introduction of Resource Governor. Eurosport is using Resource Governor to define resource limits and priorities for different workloads, and to help that ensure resources can’t be unduly impacted by poorly constructed queries or other unusual workloads.

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* With SQL Server 2008 Backup Compression we’ve seen an 80 percent reduction in our data size. *
Yann Habrial
Manager of Development, Eurosport Group
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Eurosport also has a business intelligence (BI) infrastructure that was upgraded to SQL Server 2008, including use of SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services to create multidimensional data cubes for faster analytical queries, and SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services to create recurring and custom reports. To enhance high availability, Eurosport uses the Log Shipping feature of SQL Server, which increases a database's availability by automatically copying and restoring the database's transaction logs to another database on a standby server.

Benefits

Upgrading to SQL Server 2008 and the rest of the Microsoft Application Platform has provided Eurosport with a number of benefits including lower TCO through server consolidation, easier reporting, reduced storage needs through use of data compression, and easier database management.

Lower TCO with Server Consolidation
Eurosport IT achieved the server consolidation it sought as it used the Microsoft Application Platform, including Hyper-V, to reduce its development, production, and backup database infrastructure from 27 servers and SQL Server instances to just 2 of each. The new infrastructure was built upon two of the company’s existing HP ProLiant DL380 G5 computers, with RAM upgraded to 64 gigabytes (GB) on one computer and 32 GB on the other. Storage is on one bay of an HP StorageWorks MSA2000 storage area network (SAN) equipped with 26 discs in a RAID configuration, providing total storage capacity of 3.3 terabytes.

The company is enjoying a lower TCO from its consolidation. “The new licensing model of SQL Server 2008 Enterprise proved to be very advantageous for our virtualization and consolidation,” says Stephane Gaude, Manager of Infrastructure at Eurosport Group. “We saw licensing costs reduced by about 80 percent. And we enjoyed additional savings from having fewer servers to maintain after our 27-to-2 consolidation.”

Easier Reporting with Report Builder 2.0
Eurosport business users are able to create their own custom reports using the Report Builder 2.0 feature of SQL Server 2008. The ability to create their own reports, rather than requesting reports be built on their behalf by the IT group, has greatly streamlined workflow, enabling users to create and fine tune the exact reports they need to best get their jobs done.

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* IntelliSense and other enhancements to the SQL Server 2008 environment have helped us to reduce development time by up to 20 percent. *
Yann Habrial
Manager of Development, Eurosport Group
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Users like the fact that Report Builder 2.0 incorporates the Microsoft Office paradigm into the design, enabling them to take advantage of their existing experience with Microsoft Office applications to quickly and easily design presentation-quality reports. Report Builder also enables users to customize and update all existing reports, regardless of where they were initially designed.

“Report Builder 2.0 has been a double win for us because users get to create exactly what they need, without having to depend on others to create the reports for them,” Habrial says. “And our IT staff has been freed from report creation to focus on other concerns.”

Reduced Storage Needs through Compression
Eurosport has reduced its storage needs through use of the Data Compression and Backup Compression features of SQL Server 2008. “With Data Compression, we saw compression ranging from 20 percent to 80 percent on tables,” says Habrial. “With SQL Server 2008 Backup Compression we’ve seen an 80 percent reduction in our data size.”

The company has also seen a reduction in time required for backups and restores. “With SQL Server 2008 Backup Compression, backing up data is three times faster than before,” Habrial says. “Our restoration operations are twice as fast using the compressed data.”

Easier Database Management
Managing Eurosport’s IT infrastructure became easier as the original 27 database servers were consolidated down to just 2. Yet that was just the beginning. The company has found a number of other features in SQL Server 2008 and the rest of the Microsoft Application Platform that have made it easier to manage its database infrastructure.

“Policy-Based Management represents one of the most innovative advances for SQL Server 2008,” Habrial says. “This gives us the chance to implement best practices from the beginning to ensure that everything is properly designed and that rules are consistently applied across all of our infrastructure.”

The company uses Resource Governor to protect use of computational resources. “We can use Resource Governor to assign a pool of resources to a given type of applications,” Habrial says. “This means we can generate as many cubes on the development platform as needed without penalizing queries from business users.”

Performing extract, transform, and load (ETL) processes is much more efficient with SQL Server 2008 Integration Services than it was with earlier ETL tools. “We were able to reduce our ETL import time by a factor of 10,” says Habrial. “We have a recurring import of 750,000 lines of data that is now processed in 1 minute instead of the 10 minutes it used to take.”

Faster Development
Internal development at Eurosport became easier after upgrading to SQL Server 2008. Developers are taking advantage of a number of features that enhance development including extension of Microsoft IntelliSense technology to SQL Server and enhancement of SQL Server Management Studio, which combines a broad group of graphical tools with a number of rich script editors to provide access to SQL Server to developers and administrators of all skill levels.

“IntelliSense and other enhancements to the SQL Server 2008 environment have helped us to reduce development time by up to 20 percent,” Habrial says. “And our developers require no additional training to take advantage of these features. It has all worked very smoothly.”

Summary
In summary, Eurosport has gained a lower TCO through consolidating 27 database servers to 2, using the Hyper-V feature of Windows Server 2008. The company has used SQL Server 2008 Report Builder 2.0 to enable business users to create their own reports. The Microsoft Application Platform also is helping the company reduce storage needs through compression, and providing a database infrastructure that is easier to manage.


Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
For more information about the Microsoft server product portfolio, go to:
www.microsoft.com/servers/default.mspx

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
http://www.microsoft.com/

For more information about Eurosport Group products and services, visit the Web site at: http://www.eurosport.fr/


This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published March 2010

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 2500 employees

Organization Profile

The Eurosport Group is the top sports multimedia platform in Europe, reaching 116 million homes across 59 countries with broadcasts in 20 languages.


Business Situation

Eurosport wanted to consolidate its database infrastructure to achieve a lower total cost of ownership (TCO), deploy compression to reduce storage needs, and enhance reporting.


Solution

The company upgraded to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise (64-bit) running on Windows Server 2008 for 64-Bit Systems. Using the Hyper-V feature of Windows Server 2008 it consolidated from 27 servers to 2.


Benefits
  • Lower TCO with server consolidation
  • Easier reporting with Report Builder 
  • Reduced storage needs 
  • Easier database management
  • Faster development

Hardware
  • HP ProLiant DL380 G5 server computers
  • HP StorageWorks MSA 2000 SAN with 3.3 terabytes of storage

Software and Services
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services

Vertical Industries
Media & Cable

Country/Region
France

Business Need
  • Cloud & Server Platform
  • Business Critical
  • Mission Critical

IT Issue
High Availability

Languages
English

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