The unsung heroes in building better cities

08 April 2013 | Marianne Janik, Senior Director Public Sector, Germany

In city government, you may have cutting-edge technology that makes your town run more efficiently, but you also need IT solutions that optimize the less visible support functions that you're responsible for. IT database software might not grab headlines like "automated waste-management solution using predictive analytics," and it may not seem particularly "smart," but it provides essential support as you apply your intelligence and passion to improving your municipality.

Consider the story of Kommunale Datenverarbeitungszentrale Südniedersachsen (KDS) in Germany. KDS provides IT services to around 45 cities and towns in the German state of Lower Saxony.

In 2011, KDS configured its data center as a private cloud environment. This created a problem: KDS used Oracle database software for all its applications, including a citizen census application used by many cities. But for the database to run in a virtual environment, Oracle required that KDS license a more powerful (and more expensive) version of its software than KDS needed.

This was a non-starter for KDS. As Andreas Filbir, chief information officer of KDS, explains, “In Germany, all public organizations are under pressure to cut costs. As a government organization, it’s important to KDS to operate economically so that it can invest in new projects or even pass savings on to taxpayers.”

To support these goals, KDS sought and found a cost-effective solution with SQL Server. KDS had been using SQL Server for smaller databases, and now decided to test SQL Server’s high-end capabilities.  KDS was pleased with the performance and stability, and today runs 90 percent of its 400 databases in a virtualized, clustered environment based on Dell PowerEdge R815 server computers, Windows Server 2008 R2, and SQL Server 2008 R2.

“All of our critical applications are running on SQL Server, including our citizen census application,” says Filbir. “Every time a citizen in Lower Saxony changes his or her address, this application is used, and citizens have to visit local government offices and stand in line to make the changes. So performance and stability are critical.”

Across all municipalities, KDS serves 5,000 users with its SQL Server cluster, with approximately 1,200 concurrent users at any given time.

This is not headline-grabbing material. But it's important stuff to city officials in Lower Saxony, as it supports their mission to create a better environment for their citizens. 

“More and more government services in Germany are being delivered electronically, and as a result, citizens’ service expectations have risen," Filbir notes. "It’s important for us to continuously improve in all areas, and by switching from Oracle to SQL Server, we are able to deliver better service at a lower cost.”

Want to know more? Check out the full KDS case study.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Marianne Janik
Senior Director Public Sector, Germany

About the Author

Marianne Janik | Senior Director Public Sector, Germany

Dr. Marianne Janik is senior director for the Public Sector at Microsoft Germany. Before coming to Microsoft, Marianne worked for Elster GmbH , where she was responsible for the electricity sector as general manager for Western and Eastern Europe. Read more