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Posted: 3/6/2012
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Svyaznoy Retailer Delivers Data from 2,300 Stores in One Second with Scalable Microsoft Solution

To maintain competitiveness and support critical decision making, Svyaznoy needed to process data from its 2,300 mobile-phone stores more quickly and reliably. The company deployed Microsoft SQL Server 2012 for faster performance and integrated monitoring tools. Now, the company can scale as needed without upgrading its third-party enterprise resource planning software. Data arrives from 2,300 retail locations in one second, and administration is simple and intuitive.

Business Needs

Svyaznoy, one of Russia’s largest retailers of mobile phones, digital technology, and related services and accessories, operates a chain of about 2,300 stores. The market that Svyaznoy serves is fast-changing and competitive, so the company must make rapid decisions concerning inventories, pricing and promotion policies, and marketing campaigns. To better support this critical decision making, Svyaznoy needed faster transmission of sales data from its geographically dispersed stores, improved data detail and quality, and a more reliable central database.

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* We have placed our bets on the capabilities of SQL Server and other Microsoft technologies. With SQL Server 2012, the IT department can guarantee whatever degree of scalability the business requires. *

Evgeny Sizov
Head of IT
Svyaznoy

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Svyaznoy was using Jeeves enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to bring sales data from its retail outlets into its central database, but this solution was too slow. “We established a new business requirement that data from our retail stores needed to arrive within 1 second, but the Jeeves solution was taking 15 to 30 seconds,” says Evgeny Sizov, the Head of IT at Svyaznoy. The company also wanted to expand the amount of transmitted data, validate this data, and notify its support department of any detected errors.

Svyaznoy also faced challenges related to the reliability of its central database. “The old solution had poor fault tolerances and didn’t respond well to sudden spikes in data volume—for instance, after we recover from communication interruptions and have to load updated sales data from all 2,300 stores at once,” says Sizov. “The resulting memory overflow caused the application to crash and lose data.”

Svyaznoy sought a new data-management solution that could process data more quickly, remain stable and reliable during load fluctuations, and offer improved management tools.

Solution

In 2009, after considering solutions from Cache, SAP, and IBM, Svyaznoy deployed a new sales-tracking and management solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 data management software. “IBM WebSphere came second closest to meeting our needs, but we determined that SQL Server Service Broker, a messaging framework within SQL Server, would better minimize execution times,” says Roman Nedikov, a System Architect for Svyaznoy. “SQL Server also offered better monitoring tools to help us optimize performance.”

In 2010, Svyaznoy engaged with the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program, which is part of Microsoft Services. After consulting on business objectives with a Microsoft Enterprise Architect, Svyaznoy upgraded to Microsoft SQL Server 2012.

The new solution, which also includes 1C:Enterprise ERP software, uses the SQL Server Service Broker feature to verify and synchronize sales data stored in documents across multiple directories. During the workday, the solution immediately transmits detailed data on each sales transaction to the central database. Because SQL Server Service Broker supports asynchronous messaging, the system no longer loses data during a communication interruption but instead stores it offline and retransmits it to the central database after technicians have corrected the problem.

To maintain up-to-date copies of the central database and distribute processing demands among them during peak loads, the solution uses a SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn availability group, a collection of databases that can be replicated and automatically failed over as one logical group. The availability group consists of a primary database, which is used to record transactions, and a synchronous read-only active secondary database. In this configuration, the 1C:Enterprise software can obtain the information it needs from the read-only database without affecting the performance of the primary database. In addition, administrators have access to application and multiserver management tools that support centralized monitoring of resource utilization and help accelerate upgrades. The solution is deployed on HP ProLiant DL785 server computers.

Benefits

By deploying a Microsoft solution, Svyaznoy has achieved high scalability, fast and reliable data transmission from its stores, and simple administration.

High Scalability

Svyaznoy can scale the new solution’s data management resources as needed, without having to deploy new ERP software prematurely. “SQL Server 2012 carries out the new solution’s data operations entirely separately from our ERP software,” says Nedikov. “By deploying SQL Server 2012, we have eliminated any obstacles in scalability imposed by the 1C:Enterprise software.” Sizov is pleased by the expansion capabilities that the solution provides for the business as a whole. “We have placed our bets on the capabilities of SQL Server and other Microsoft technologies. With SQL Server 2012, the IT department can guarantee whatever degree of scalability the business requires.”

Data Delivery in One Second or Less

Because of the structure of the new solution’s data-delivery component, Svyaznoy obtains data from its retail locations almost instantaneously. “The close integration of SQL Server Service Broker with the database engine greatly speeds up message delivery, and AlwaysOn active secondaries help us achieve better IT efficiency during peak loads,” says Nedikov. “With SQL Server 2012, we can be online with more than 2,300 retail outlets simultaneously with data-transmission times of no more than one second. Even after external communication interruptions, when the SQL Server 2012 database must update records from all 2,300 stores at once, processing speed is unaffected and there is no data loss.”

Simple Administration

Svyaznoy IT workers find the SQL Server 2012 administrative tools to be simple and intuitive. “Our IT administrators quickly mastered SQL Server 2012 management tools even before our initial testing phase was complete,” says Sizov. “Thanks to the transparency of the SQL Server 2012 architecture, our IT staff can more easily understand its operation, detect potential problems, and identify opportunities to optimize data operations.”

Sizov continues: “With help from Microsoft Services, we were able to take a long-term perspective. We will definitely rely on the Enterprise Strategy Program in the future to help us ensure that our IT investments fully support our business goals.”

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



Organization Size: 11000 employees

Organization Profile
Svyaznoy sells mobile phones, digital technology, calling plans, and Internet service at 2,300 stores throughout Russia. Founded in 1995, the rapidly growing company controls about 25 percent of the Russian retail mobile-phone market.

Hardware
HP ProLiant DL785 server computers

Software and Services
Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Vertical Industries
Consumer Goods

IT Issue
Data Warehousing

Languages
English

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