Meridiana Case StudyMigration to the latest versions of SQL Server
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Interview with Luca La Cava, Project Manager of Meridiana
Why did you choose to renew the server?
SQL Server 2000 was suffering from the workload. In terms of performance, with the increase in transactions and reservations, we were unable to obtain satisfying results. And besides, you have to keep your technology updated.
The critical issues in a migration largely depend on the importance that the server has for production. How many transactions does Meridiana’s server load and how many requests must it handle?
More than 50% of the reservations are made on meridiana.it. Our site is a very important sales channel and operates day and night. The entire IT department is available 24 hours a day and we reach peaks of 15 requests per second. This means that, with an indicative projection of how many times the server is queried, on days with intense traffic we receive many hundreds of thousands of requests.
What was the main problem you had to address and how did you solve it?
The primary need was to minimize shutdowns. In agreement with SolidQ, we chose to operate at night, imposing a site shutdown for 3-4 hours, after appropriately notifying customers in the preceding days.
What results did you obtain?
With the new SQL Server 2012 functionality, which we learned thanks to SolidQ’s mentoring, we have a new way of working that eliminates all interruptions during the purchasing phase, especially for intercontinental operations. Not only that, but SolidQ taught us many tricks for optimizing server performance. In addition to the daily reporting, now during the night we perform a series of backups and other data historization functions that used to significantly slow down the data server.
What are the functionalities of the new server that struck you the most?
Thanks to SolidQ’s consulting and mentoring, we appreciated the backup system and data encryption function. Meridiana follows PCI security standards [PCI SSC (Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council) Consortium]; during the reservation phase, we must ensure that the credit card data are encrypted, and this was one of the unusual factors in choosing the system. In addition, the new version’s ability to photograph the data in such a manner that the server can be used to perform analysis on the data in real time without compromising the booking activity was decisive.
What were the improvements for the final user?
The speed of the server tripled. During times when we suffered before (Editor’s note: 10-12 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. Italian time), reservations are constant. Previously, due to the high number of transactions, sometimes the system slowed down or even locked up. Now these problems will not happen anymore.
How was it working alongside SolidQ?
A perfect collaboration. We met SolidQ once a month for three months. The team gave us advice on how to migrate the software, we made the changes and SolidQ performed tests at every visit. Then we simulated the migration, also involving Tiscali, our web farm. The simulation went very well, and so we set the date for the production. Overnight one weekend we migrated and optimized everything.