DNV provides merchant vessel inspection, classification, verification, and certification services. The company wanted to increase the availability of its mission-critical application, which is accessed by thousands of internal and external users
every day. DNV also sought to improve its data replication process. After deploying a new Microsoft high-availability and disaster recovery solution, DNV has improved availability and increased its flexibility. The company has also cut failover time from more
than 10 minutes to seconds and reduced the time it takes to make database copies available from hours to minutes.
DNV is a Norwegian company that inspects and evaluates merchant sea vessels and offers risk management services to thousands of customers in a range of industries.
||With SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn, we have higher availability for our critical application, and our customers get the data they need faster.
| Harald Bach-Gansmo
Principal Systems Engineer
Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
DNV needs to ensure the highest availability for its Nauticus Production System (NPS), an electronic registry containing data for all vessels over their entire life cycle, including the building, operating, and retirement of the ship. This application needs
to be available around the clock for 3,000 DNV surveyors, who enter vessel inspection data from ships worldwide into the system.
Additionally, 42,000 customers every month depend on their NPS subscription to check the status of their vessel inspection information. “NPS tracks details on all of the DNV-classified shipping vessels,” Harald Bach-Gansmo, Principal Systems Engineer, DNV.
“It’s the most important mission-critical IT system for DNV, and our internal and external users need it up and running at all times. If there’s too much downtime, DNV gets negative reactions from 42,000 users, and our business stops.”
DNV needed to increase the availability on its primary server, and it also relied on a time-consuming process to give its external customers access to data in NPS. The organization had relied on database replication using its Microsoft SQL Server 2005 environment
to make this happen, but that process was time-consuming. “Replication— extracting the NPS data to the data warehouse —took about eight hours each night,” says Bach-Gansmo. “Unfortunately, nightly data warehouse timestamps were destroyed using our replication
DNV decided that it needed to implement database-level high availability and disaster recovery as a way of presenting live read-only copies of its NPS database to external users. Bach-Gansmo says, “We had the need for higher availability and simplification
of disaster recovery, and we needed to replace our replication setup.”
As a long-time Microsoft customer, DNV was committed to staying with Microsoft database technology. “NPS has been running on SQL Server since 1999, and we had no intention of switching technologies,” says Bach-Gansmo. “We have had great support from Microsoft
and solid performance from SQL Server.”
DNV decided to upgrade to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise data management software to take advantage of SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn, a feature that organizations can use to query data in replicas and perform backups from those replicas. AlwaysOn can improve
availability and disaster recovery by offloading processes to active secondary databases.
In October 2011, DNV installed SQL Server 2012 on two HP ProLiant DL580 and two HP ProLiant DL380 server computers. The organization implemented two AlwaysOn availability groups, managing a total of 16 primary and secondary databases. The first availability
group contains four databases on four servers with primary/secondary automatic failover servers. This group also includes two secondary, read-only replica database servers exposed to the company’s 42,000 external customers and the data warehouse. The second
availability group contains 12 primary and secondary databases.
Together, this infrastructure supports 1.3 terabytes of data. The configuration of these two availability groups provides the company with a solid database disaster recovery solution.
With its new availability and disaster recovery solution from Microsoft, DNV increases the availability of its critical application to both internal and external customers. The new technology will help DNV be more flexible and respond faster to customer
demands. It also saves failover time and boosts overall efficiency.
Ensures High Availability, Gets Critical Data to Customers Faster
DNV can now guarantee better availability for its NPS application. “With SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn, we have higher availability for our critical application, and our customers get the data they need faster,” says Bach-Gansmo. “This means that they can see
vessel inspection information faster, and they make better decisions about the vessels they own based on that data.”
SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn also helps minimize the risk of downtime because failover takes less time. “With this new solution, automatic failover takes place in just a few seconds, where before it could take at least 10 minutes and sometimes up to an hour,”
Helps DNV Be More Flexible and Adaptable
Using the AlwaysOn availability group configuration, DNV can respond to its external customers faster. “SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn gives us the ability to be much more flexible and adaptable,” says Bach-Gansmo. “For example, we can take one server down and
add more memory if we need to. So we can respond to customers faster and have a better opportunity to attract new ones as well.”
Saves Time and Improves Efficiency
With the new solution, DNV saves time during the data extraction process. “Now, instead of taking hours each night to get the data copied to the data warehouse, we can do it in minutes using SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn,” Bach-Gansmo says. “The timestamps are
identical on both the primary and secondary readable databases, which is a huge benefit for the data warehouse.”
With these capabilities, the IT department is more efficient. “Loading this data from NPS is very important for our customers and our business,” says Bach-Gansmo. “And ultimately, by spending less time on those processes and being more efficient overall,
we can put time and resources into other tasks and IT projects,”
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.