When Xerox needed to improve the throughput of systems underlying its Managed Print Services, it turned to the In-Memory OLTP capability in Microsoft SQL Server 2014. In a proof of concept, Xerox saw performance gains of 40–100 percent in key
services, and it is planning to use the software to help boost customer service, business growth, and competitive advantage, while containing costs
||With SQL Server 2014, we can handle the growth of our Managed Print Services business while minimizing the costs associated with increasing our infrastructure. In a competitive economy, that’s significant.
| Eugene Evanitsky
Manager of Solutions Architecture
Xerox Managed Print Services
Building a large and growing business during tough economic times would seem to be challenge enough. But if you’re lucky and skillful enough to achieve it, you’re faced with a second challenge: how to reduce incremental costs to make it possible, practical,
and profitable to support that growth.
That is the challenge facing Xerox in its highly successful Xerox Managed Print Services business. In addition to selling printers, Xerox has an integrated services offering that manages a company’s printers—both Xerox and non-Xerox—for enterprise customers.
Xerox Managed Print Services evaluates a customer’s print environment, document infrastructure, and workflows. It identifies current print spending and develops a roadmap for an ideal print environment, including cost savings, increased productivity, greater
process automation, higher security and compliance, and new workflows like secure printing from mobile devices.
The company has built its Managed Print Services into the market leader, according to Gartner, IDC, Forrester, and Quocirca. It manages 3.7 million assets, 1 million devices, 70 services, and 5 billion printed pages per month for more than 4,000 customers
in 160 countries. It averages 20 percent annual growth
Reducing the load on the hardware infrastructure that Xerox uses to support its Managed Print Services is necessary to handle the additional growth of services and to further improve system performance and meet or exceed customer expectations. At peak load,
CPU as well as local disk I/O and network I/O can approach 90 percent.
Xerox Managed Print Services has long been a Microsoft shop, using Microsoft ASP.NET to develop web applications and running those services on various versions of Microsoft SQL Server software. So it is natural that the company would look to Microsoft SQL
Server 2014 to prevent bottlenecks that slow services and increase the need for support.
SQL Server 2014 includes new and enhanced features designed to boost mission-critical data center performance. In particular, Xerox is interested in the software’s In-Memory OLTP capability, which can host online transaction processing (OLTP) tables and
databases in a server’s working memory. There, an application can access them directly, without the potential bottlenecks of hard disk input and output. The result is better performance and CPU utilization—exactly what Xerox wants.
To conduct a proof of concept of In-Memory OLTP, Xerox chose two applications used in its Managed Print Services. One was Microsoft ASP.NET Session State, an application that boosts reliability and performance by maintaining a user’s specific session state
information for rapid access after a session ends. The other was a custom application, Xerox Common Gateway, which uses a publish/subscribe model to collect device data from Xerox customers. And it collects a lot of device data, handling 4–10 million transactions
and 3–5 million messages every day. The application has 21 tables and about 100 stored procedures—and occasional issues with message queue bottlenecks and high locking frequency, which Xerox wants to address.
Xerox MPS chose these applications because of their effect on throughput, and because they required few code changes to work with the new technology.
Xerox saw performance gains of 40–100 percent in these applications from its test of SQL Server 2014, and the company projects that the software can help it to achieve better and faster customer service, cost-effective business growth, and greater competitive
Performance Gains of 40–100 Percent
Running the applications on SQL Server 2014 with In-Memory OLTP increased their performance significantly. For ASP.NET Session State, the average performance gain, without tuning stored procedures, was 40 percent; Xerox estimates that with tuning, the average
gains would at least double, to 80–90 percent.
Significantly, the gains increased as the number of users increased, with gains reaching up to 71 percent for 100 users, the largest size tested. For Xerox Common Gateway, most performance gains ranged between 95 and 100 percent.
“We demonstrated significant performance gains with In-Memory OLTP,” says Reeta Benoy, Project Coordinator and Data Architect, Xerox Managed Print Services. “And we learned that careful planning is the key to optimizing gains from this technology.”
Better, Faster Customer Service
Reducing performance bottlenecks in the Managed Print Services applications is important to Xerox because of its effect on customer service and satisfaction.
“When we put SQL Server 2014 into production, it will help us serve customers better and prepare for growth,” says Eugene Evanitsky, Manager of Solutions Architecture, Xerox Managed Print Services. “It will help us to manage resources more effectively, while
meeting our SLA commitments. We’ll also be able to process service tickets faster and provide faster and more comprehensive reporting.”
Support for Double Digit Annual Growth
Xerox Managed Print Services says its use of SQL Server 2014 will help it to increase its Managed Print Services business in two ways. First, it will help the company to support more devices. By using SQL Server 2014, Xerox can continue to provide broad
services for its customers’ growing print infrastructures. Second, Xerox can use the increased capacity to support more customers.
“With double digit annual growth in Xerox Managed Print Services,” says Evanitsky. “SQL Server 2014 will play an important role in helping us to support that growth.”
Reduced Costs and Increased Competitive Advantage
With SQL Server 2014, Xerox expects not only to support business growth, but to do so cost-effectively. A key savings will come from minimizing the need for additional hardware to reduce bottlenecks and high locking frequency.
There are other savings, too. Evanitsky cites the better resource management that will come from reduced CPU use. With it, Xerox can improve performance for other applications that also run on the Managed Print Services servers, without adding hardware for
them, either. Further, better performance will mean fewer support calls—and less money spent to service those calls.
“With SQL Server 2014, we can handle the growth of our business while minimizing the costs associated with increasing our infrastructure,” says Evanitsky. “In a competitive economy, that’s significant.”
This case study is for informational purposes only.