Universal Music Group (UMG) sought a database that could scale with growth, cut costs, and speed performance. In 2010, UMG replaced a 5-terabyte IBM DB2 data warehouse with one based on the Microsoft platform. As a result, UMG saved more than
U.S.$1 million, sped reporting up to 92 percent, and has experienced 100 percent uptime. It expects to save more money by moving a global data warehouse from Oracle to Microsoft.
UMG continually evaluates and modifies the media and services it offers. Rob Cromar, Vice President, Enterprise Reporting Systems at UMG, explains, “The music business is shifting from a physical sales distribution model to a digital model with a multitude
of new and rapidly changing music and video services. Not only is demand higher than ever, but we also face many business challenges in delivering online media.”
||With our IBM DB2 solution, it took 6 to 10 minutes to create a report based on one week of data. With SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, the same report takes 30 to 50 seconds.
Senior Director Global Business Intelligence—Enterprise Data Warehouse and Architecture
Universal Music Group
To facilitate business decisions, 1,000 users including executives and financial analysts created reports with MicroStrategy and in-house tools. The reports were based on 5 terabytes of information about every sale and download involving UMG media processed
by 60 independent distributors. The information resided in data warehouse that ran on IBM DB2 software and an IBM pSeries midrange server computer.
With transaction data growing exponentially, UMG found that its existing data warehouse was too expensive to sustain. Hardware costs were exorbitant and UMG needed numerous third-party tools and specialized IT skills to manage tasks such as data analysis,
data integration, and reporting. “Our IBM DB2 solution was very expensive in terms of hardware and software licensing costs,” says Rajesh Babu, Senior Director Global Business Intelligence—Enterprise Data Warehouse and Architecture at UMG.
To maintain its expansion and cut costs, UMG needed a more flexible and affordable data warehouse that could still deliver mission-critical performance and reliability.
After evaluating several solution options including another IBM data warehouse, UMG ultimately chose Microsoft SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse—an end-to-end solution with hardware, software, and reference architectures. Cromar says, “Although some IT
personnel were initially concerned about switching platforms, SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse offered a rock-solid, cost-effective environment that we could easily scale.”
UMG began to deploy its new data warehouse in November 2009. It runs on one HP DL580 G7 server computer, the Windows Server 2008 Enterprise operating system, and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise data management software. “We received a lot of value from
Microsoft Services consultants,” says Babu. “With their input, we could logically restructure our DB2 data warehouse so when we moved it over to SQL Server, we would achieve maximum performance—even when queries and reports returned large amounts of data.”
To extract data from systems, and then transform and load it into the warehouse, UMG used Informatica. Engineers used another existing tool, MicroStrategy, to migrate reports to the new solution.
The solution went into production in June 2011. It includes more than 7 terabytes of compressed data—or about 14 terabytes of uncompressed data. “We finished the SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse deployment in about 6 months, but we spent more than 16
months re-creating reports to work with the new logical structure of our warehouse,” says Babu.
By deploying SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, UMG reduces costs, increases efficiency, maintains reliable data access, and facilitates additional savings.
Cuts U.S. Costs by More Than 97 Percent and Increases Flexibility
Today, UMG has the flexibility it needs to support growth and change. For example, to accommodate 12 months of projected data growth, UMG spent 97 percent less than it would have for its IBM system. “We just added 13 terabytes of capacity to our SQL Server
Fast Track Data Warehouse at a minimal cost and we can also add memory for much less money than we could with our previous solution,” says Babu.
Renders Reports up to 92 Percent Faster
The company has increased efficiency and responsiveness because employees can access the information they need 92 percent faster. “With our IBM DB2 solution, it took 6 to 10 minutes to render a report based on one week of data,” says Babu. “With SQL Server
Fast Track Data Warehouse, the same report takes 30 to 50 seconds.” He adds, “The Fast Track Data Warehouse architecture has a lot to do with why the solution is faster. It included a blueprint we could follow to restructure our database for optimum performance.”
Delivers 100 Percent Uptime
Every day, the solution processes more than 40 million transactions and generates about 800 reports for 1,000 users. “In the last 18 months, our SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse has delivered 100 percent uptime,” says Babu. “We have not even had one
serious memory alert.”
Facilitates More Savings Globally
UMG plans to simplify IT management by using Microsoft technologies to manage portals, data integration, and data presentation. Babu says, “SQL Server includes many built-in capabilities and is one tool among many in the Microsoft platform. By taking advantage
of these other technologies, we can minimize the need for specialized IT skills and avoid spending $150,000 on individual third-party applications.”
To realize additional savings, in 2010 UMG moved the data in a Canadian warehouse that ran on Oracle to the SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse in the United States. UMG is also deploying a second SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, on one HP ProLiant
DL980 G7 server, to replace a warehouse that stores data about transactions outside of North America. As a result, the company’s two Fast Track Data Warehouses will contain more than 100 terabytes of compressed data. Babu explains, “Across the UMG organization,
we are moving data from IBM DB2 and Oracle to Microsoft SQL Server.”
Commenting on the company’s latest migration to the Microsoft platform, Cromar says, “SQL Server offers excellent cost performance so when it came time to reevaluate our global platform that currently runs on Oracle, it was a simple decision to scale our
SQL Server solution to capture more benefits.”
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