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Posted: 3/6/2012
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Motricity Mobile Advertiser Makes Gains with Easy Migration of Sybase Database to Microsoft

Motricity, a mobile advertising provider, wanted to move a business-critical database from Sybase IQ to the Microsoft platform. With the latest Microsoft database solution, Motricity quickly completed the migration of its columnar-style database. It enhanced its competitiveness and gained a high-availability solution with lower licensing costs, fast performance, rapid disaster recovery, easier management, and a quick ROI.

Business Needs

Motricity, headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, provides mobile advertising and marketing solutions for advertising agencies, consumer brands, and mobile operators. The company’s clients have generated more than U.S.$2.7 billion in gross revenue through sales of mobile content and applications using the Motricity mCore Platform.

* By using xVelocity and other features, we migrated our 3-terabyte Sybase IQ database to SQL Server 2012. We lowered costs, kept availability high, and performed some tasks three times faster. *

Paul Lisagor
Director, IT Data Services

Because Motricity prides itself on relevance-driven solutions to help its clients attract and retain customers and to drive its own competitiveness, it wanted to improve its database operations.

Motricity had used Microsoft SQL Server data management software for several years. However, in 2011, it acquired another company that used a Sybase IQ version 12.7 database. Designed for predictive analytics, the database uses an iterative process of repeated cycles to compare various attributes and derive correlations from consumer data. Motricity must maintain database access for 50 users of this business-critical database. For ease of management, Motricity wanted to standardize on the Microsoft platform as much as possible.


Because of its long relationship with Microsoft, Motricity signed up for the Microsoft Rapid Deployment program for SQL Server 2012 in June 2011. Motricity was interested in SQL Server 2012 because it offers xVelocity memory-optimized columnstore index, which, like the company’s Sybase IQ database, stores data in columns rather than rows. Columnar-style databases speed query operations to support the high input-output (I/O) demands of predictive analytics. xVelocity could make migration to the Microsoft platform easier. After two weeks of testing with the Microsoft Customer Advisory Team in a Microsoft lab in late October and early November 2011, Motricity was ready to move ahead. “We more than met our Sybase IQ benchmarks,” says Paul Lisagor, Director, IT Data Services at Motricity.

Soon after, the company began working on the in-house migration of the 3- terabyte database, completing the deployment in February 2012. The solution is deployed on three nodes that are part of a seven-node cluster, using Windows Failover Clustering to create a virtualized environment.

The cluster also runs multiple instances of SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 for other enterprise applications. Two HP ProLiant BL680 G7 server computers with 48 CPUs and 256 gigabytes of RAM are used for the primary and secondary databases, along with an HP DL580 G7 server computer as an application server. The solution uses a Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform appliance, along with HP storage hardware.

Motricity used SQL Server AlwaysOn features—including AlwaysOn availability groups and AlwaysOn failover cluster instances—to support high availability and disaster recovery at both the database and instance level. The Motricity IT group created a secondary mirrored database with read-only capabilities for its predictive analytics solution. It also created a set of mirrored instances on one node and used database storage on a parallel storage array. With help from Microsoft to resolve a few issues involving differences between the two database systems, the migration went smoothly. “The most challenging part was moving the solution from a data center in Arizona to one in Washington State,” says Lisagor. “For that we used SQL Server 2012 Integration Services and the SQL Server 2012 Data Tools.”


By choosing SQL Server 2012 Enterprise, Motricity has enhanced its competitiveness and simplified the migration of its predictive analytics database. It has achieved high availability and scalability, fast disaster recovery, and improvements in performance and management. It expects a quick return on investment (ROI). “By using xVelocity and other features, we migrated our 3-terabyte Sybase IQ database to SQL Server 2012. We lowered costs, kept availability high, and even performed some tasks three times faster,” says Lisagor.

Enhances Competitiveness and Reduces Licensing Costs

By simplifying its infrastructure, Motricity has improved its efficiency without making compromises. Motricity has also reduced its licensing costs significantly. Lisagor says, “With this cost-effective solution, we can help clients target their customers effectively and remain highly competitive.”

Simplifies Migration

xVelocity and SQL Server 2012 Integration Services simplified migration. “We were quite pleased with SQL Server Integration Services and the SQL Server 2012 Data Tools and how easy they were to use,” says Lisagor.

Offers High Availability and Scalability

Motricity gained a platform that is highly reliable and scalable. “SQL Server 2012 works well for our predictive analytics database,” says Shahryar Hashemi, Database Administrator at Motricity. “It can scale high I/O demands across multiple SQL Server instances and virtual disks. And with AlwaysOn features, it’s there when we need it.”

Delivers Fast Disaster Recovery and Exceptional Performance

SQL Server 2012 supports fast disaster recovery. “We run multiple instances on our seven-node cluster, and we consider them very portable,” says Hashemi. “In the event of hardware failure, with our standby storage, it’s easy to reallocate mirrored instances onto other nodes in the cluster.”

SQL Server 2012 has performed even better than expected. “Our performance with SQL Server 2012 has surprised us,” says Lisagor. “We have achieved or surpassed our performance levels with Sybase IQ.”

Provides Easier Management and a Quick ROI

Now, the predictive analytics database can be managed by the same IT team that manages the rest of the company’s Microsoft infrastructure. Says Lisagor: “By taking advantage of Microsoft technology and our expertise, we not only find it easier to manage, but we also expect a return on this investment within the year.”

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

Organization Profile
Founded in 2001, Motricity specializes in relevance-driven mobile merchandising, marketing, and advertising solutions.

Hitachi Virtual Storage Platform appliance HP storage hardware HP ProLiant BL680 G7 server computers HP ProLiant DL580 G7 server computer

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise
  • Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services
  • Windows Server 2008 R2

Vertical Industries

Business Need
  • Business Critical
  • Mission Critical

IT Issue
High Availability