2 page Case Study - Posted 7/22/2013
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Next-Gen Software Provider Aras Drives Growth, Supports Customer Needs for Scalability and BI Analytics

Aras is a global software provider of product lifecycle management applications based on a next-generation cloud architecture. To boost scalability and availability, and to gain superior business intelligence (BI) functionality, Aras upgraded its applications to Microsoft SQL Server 2012. As a result, the firm’s enterprise customers have achieved market-leading performance with compelling new features. And Aras reduced its development and support costs and is driving new growth.

Business Needs

With worldwide headquarters in Andover, Massachusetts, Aras is a leading provider of enterprise product lifecycle management (PLM) software applications. The company’s advanced PLM platform and solution suite, Aras Innovator, helps global customers design, develop, and support their products. Based on Microsoft SQL Server software, Aras Innovator is used by organizations in aerospace, defense, automotive, high tech electronics, and other manufacturing industries.

Peter Schroer, Founder and CEO at Aras, says, “Our software helps companies coordinate information between large teams of engineers and designers, so they can get their products to market faster and manage them across their global supply chain.”

Increasingly, product innovation is creating greater complexity, which is resulting in ever larger data sets. “For example, one of our aerospace customers needs to store information for tens of millions of parts, which results in terabytes of data to track and manage,” says Schroer. The company’s customers are also seeking higher availability for their mission-critical systems.

“It’s a global world, and our customers are multinational. They can’t afford to take their systems offline because they operate around the clock on three or more continents,” Schroer says. “That’s why our applications have to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Aras customers also require powerful analytical tools. “Our customers have a lot of product data in our applications, and they’re constantly slicing and dicing that information to make better business decisions,” says Schroer. “We have to provide the best possible analytics capabilities to help them do that.”

To address these critical customer requirements, Aras was quick to upgrade to SQL Server 2012.

* SQL Server 2012 provides the performance, scalability, and support our enterprise customers demand. *

Peter Schroer
Founder and CEO


In March 2012, Aras began the process of enabling the Aras Innovator platform on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise. “Since 2005, we have been running exclusively on SQL Server,” says Schroer. “It’s been a great database technology for us, and we’re always early adoptors of the latest version.”

Aras knew that SQL Server 2012 offers even greater scalability, so the company’s platform could support more users and more data than competitive products on Oracle. The organization was also excited about SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn, an integrated high-availability and disaster-recovery solution. It features availability groups that support failover capabilities for user databases that fail over collectively.

SQL Server 2012 also contains advanced business intelligence features, such as the Power View feature in SQL Server 2012 Reporting Services. This self-service BI reporting tool gives users the ability to make ad hoc data queries and create their own analytical reports.

Working with the Microsoft SQL Server team, Aras needed less than one month to transition to SQL Server 2012. “We spent a very short amount of time in development, and quality assurance occurred quickly because of the compatibility, which is a testament both to the technology and the great support we received,” says Schroer. “Deployment couldn’t have gone better. We’ve worked with other technology partners in the past where transitions like this have required major investments of our time. This was very easy.”

In April 2012, Aras released Aras Innovator 9.3 SP3, validated for SQL Server 2012, to all its customers worldwide.


With SQL Server 2012, Aras is gaining new Fortune 500 customers, while offering existing customers compelling new features and reliability. The company has also lowered its own operating costs and is setting its business apart in a crowded marketplace.

Helps Attract Enterprise Customers and Drive Growth
By taking advantage of the built-in scalability in SQL Server 2012, Aras can offer large customers superior performance and expand its application suite as its existing customer base grows.

“SQL Server 2012 has helped us win benchmark performance comparisons vs competitors on Oracle at global enterprise customers and provides the scalability and support they require for mission-critical PLM platforms,” says Schroer. “Now, when potential customers tell us that they have hundreds of thousands of users and multiple terabytes of data, we know that we can out-perform other platforms. There’s a new level of customer confidence with SQL Server 2012, and it’s helping us drive growth.”

Ensures High Availability for Mission-Critical Systems
Aras is able to easily meet its customers’ expectations for high availability by incorporating the AlwaysOn feature in SQL Server 2012. “Our customers are manufacturing some of the most complex products in the world, and if their PLM solution is down, they can’t make products. By basing Aras Innovator on SQL Server 2012, we can guarantee the highest availability, so our customers have access to their mission-critical systems whenever they’re needed,” says Schroer. “SQL Server 2012 provides the built-in failover and clustering technology that our customers are looking for, so we can meet the most demanding up-time requirements.”

Reduces Development and Support Costs
Because SQL Server 2012 is equipped with new BI functionality, Aras no longer needs to offer its own BI capabilities in Aras Innovator. “With the powerful new BI features in SQL Server 2012, we don’t have to write and support our own BI capabilities anymore,” says Schroer. “Power View and the other BI tools in SQL Server 2012 are far superior to what we had or what our competitors offer. That saves us a lot of development time, and our global support costs are lower.”

Using SQL Server 2012 to power its PLM platform and application suite, Aras can clearly differentiate its business in a competitive market. “We have some large competitors in this space that run on Oracle,” says Schroer. “But with SQL Server 2012, we’re winning on performance, scalability, features, and ease of support.”

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

Organization Size: 100 employees

Organization Profile

Aras provides advanced product lifecycle management (PLM) software solutions to global companies for product development and supply chain operations.

Software and Services
Microsoft SQL Server 2012

Vertical Industries
Automotive, Industrial Equipment & Aerospace

United States

Business Need
  • Business Intelligence and Reporting
  • Business Productivity
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

IT Issue
  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management
  • High Availability
  • Software + Services