4-page Case Study
Posted: 1/11/2012
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AT Internet Web Analytics Firm Improves Competitive Edge with Turnkey Data Warehouse Solution

AT Internet knew that companies worldwide require business intelligence tools to stay competitive. However, like many companies, it also struggled with large volumes of data and high implementation costs. But with a turnkey solution based on Microsoft SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, AT Internet can support business and data growth more affordably. For example, it has enhanced customer service with 10 times faster query performance, while cutting deployment time and costs. In addition, it can now run new analytical models in days instead of weeks. And with the new solution, AT Internet has reduced time-to-market, which has improved its competitive advantage.

Situation

Based in Bordeaux, France, AT Internet specializes in monitoring and analyzing website traffic and performance. It has operations in nine countries and 140 employees worldwide. AT Internet customers—including those in banking, retail, and Internet services—use its analytics services and data to drive their own business decisions.

Many businesses, particularly those in consumer-oriented sectors, seek more than just analytical capabilities. To stay ahead in a volatile marketplace, they need access to relevant information as quickly as possible. However, managing data can be challenging when it comes from multiple sources and is frequently unstructured, and when the volume is rapidly growing.

More than 3,500 AT Internet customers connect to an extranet for access to statistics on website traffic and use. AT Internet managed approximately 40 server computers running Microsoft SQL Server data management software, which it used for both BI capabilities and storage. In 2008, the company’s customers increasingly demanded faster response times and round-the-clock availability. They also wanted new BI capabilities, such as the ability to analyze the behavior of Internet users targeted by email campaigns.

In response, AT Internet decided to upgrade its infrastructure. In addition to enhancing BI capabilities, the company wanted to reduce its query response time by 10 times. It added new servers, increased memory capacity, and implemented a storage area network (SAN). However, these changes were not enough to meet its goals.

The company looked for a new solution that would significantly improve performance. It also wanted more flexibility to speed delivery of new features to customers.

Solution

International Digital Corporation (IDC), a leading market research firm, believes that data management appliances can help companies be more competitive in the global marketplace. According to IDC, AT Internet is no exception. After trying to improve performance by adding more servers, the company ultimately decided to implement a turnkey solution based on Microsoft SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse reference architecture. Built and managed with reliable Microsoft configurations and best practices, the data warehouse appliance would minimize deployment risks and improve performance.

The solution, which included SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise running on the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system, had several advantages. AT Internet could choose affordable, industry-standard hardware from a leading vendor and select the best configuration for its needs. Then, the preconfigured servers, storage, and network infrastructure would arrive already optimized for data warehousing. As a result, the company could deploy the solution quickly and focus on designing new data models to improve customer service.

The company expected to improve performance because the software and hardware components in SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse are balanced to eliminate bottlenecks. It also ensures optimal online analytical processing (OLAP). The solution is designed for sequential input/output (I/O) instead of random I/O, and it processes up to 290 megabytes per second for each CPU core. Also, depending on the configuration chosen, the data warehouse could scale between 4 and 80 terabytes.

AT Internet can also take advantage of built-in high-availability features in SQL Server 2008 R2 by running SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse in a failover cluster with an existing appliance.

AT Internet anticipates that a typical server installation project can take 4–5 days to complete, including tracking orders and managing delays. In contrast, the company installed the new solution—including migrating and testing databases—in less than a day.

IDC points out that AT Internet has eased both deployment and management. Administrative tasks are performed on a central console, which simplifies monitoring, and instead of consulting multiple vendors, the company works with just one support contact. The solution has required few adjustments after deployment.

Benefits

By implementing a turnkey solution based on SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, AT Internet has improved customer service with better performance and availability. It has also eased deployment and cut management costs while improving business agility.

Improves Customer Service

By supporting its data-intensive environments with the new warehouse appliances, AT Internet can expand the BI capabilities it offers customers. For example, clients can now search and navigate raw data stored in logs in addition to structured data.

With SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, AT Internet can increase both its range of products and its customer base. The company can target the top end of the market and serve businesses that work with much larger volumes of data.

Enhances Performance and Availability

Companies that work with high volumes of data need solutions that accelerate access to information. According to IDC, early feedback from several companies indicates that SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse executes queries significantly faster than traditional BI solutions. For example, AT Internet can execute queries 10 times faster than it could before. As a result, its customers can make better decisions more quickly.

High availability is equally important. When BI solutions support mission-critical activities, downtime is not an option. With SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, AT Internet can ensure high levels of availability and performance even if a database node fails.

Reduces Total Cost of Ownership

Although controlling cost is usually not the main objective when looking for a data warehouse appliance, most businesses save money when they adopt SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse. For example, AT Internet avoided the lengthy and costly test and preproduction stages of deployment. The company also cut costs with industry-standard hardware, and it maintains the solution more easily with support from one vendor. AT Internet reports that the Microsoft solution has helped it reduce its management workload and will result in significant savings in support costs.

Improves Business Agility and Time-to-Market

With a turnkey data warehouse solution, AT Internet can quickly implement BI capabilities in environments with high volumes of both structured and unstructured data. Analysts can perform queries faster, and they can test and run new analytical models more quickly—often within a day instead of several weeks. According to IDC, by implementing SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, AT Internet improved its ability to respond faster to customer demands and stand out from the competition.

Microsoft Server Product Portfolio

For more information about the Microsoft server product portfolio, go to:
www.microsoft.com/servers

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:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about AT Internet products and services, call 0 800 881 83833 or visit the website at:
en.atinternet.com

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



Organization Size: 300 employees

Organization Profile

AT Internet provides web analytics services to 3,500 customers in multiple industries. It has operations in nine countries.


Business Situation

AT Internet needed business intelligence tools to stay competitive, but cost and lengthy time-to-market hindered implementation.


Solution

AT Internet implemented Microsoft SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse. The turnkey solution includes Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2.


Benefits

  • Improves customer service
  • Enhances performance and availability
  • Reduces total cost of ownership
  • Improves business agility and time-to-market


Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

Vertical Industries
IT Services

Country/Region
France

Business Need
Business Intelligence and Reporting

IT Issue
  • Data Warehousing
  • High Availability

Languages
English

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