iBurst, a supplier of consumer and business connectivity solutions, operates a network that requires its entire infrastructure to be up 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This requirement for maximum uptime calls for redundancy and support not only on the hardware and software side, but also in terms of the resources required to maintain the system.
While iBurst employs in-house systems administrators due to the mission critical nature of availability that the company requires, they have also turned to RDB Consulting to provide additional services in the form of
external resources with expert skills. These skills are required when a problem needs to be solved or escalated, or alternatively when project demands call for extra assistance.
Says Sasan Parvin, technical director at iBurst: "While we do have in-house database administrators, ensuring redundancy in all aspects is essential for our business. The consultants from RDB provide a 'fall back' system to bring in extra skills should we not have them, so that our system is always up and running at the highest levels of performance."
When iBurst made the decision to move their old hardware to a new environment in 2009 with upgraded servers, software and database tools to cater for a steadily growing business, they experienced performance
degradation, with poor response times and monthly processes that exceeded the expected execution times.
Since the experts from RDB Consulting were already contracted to provide assistance and the relationship was already in place, iBurst once again turned to RDB to aid in identifying the problem and improving the performance of the new system.
"We came in as independent, objective consultants to analyse the operating system and the Oracle database for iBurst," says Gerrit-Jan Albers, service delivery manager at RDB.
"After the analysis was completed, we identified that the problem did not lie with the hardware but that the root cause was in fact a configuration issue, and we discovered that the hardware and software implementation had not been 'fine tuned' thus impacting performance.
"This is a common challenge experienced when migrating to an upgraded environment, as everything including the hardware and software is new, and it is easy to blame performance issues on the database itself. However, this is more than often not the case, and when configurations have been 'tuned' properly, the system performs significantly better. This was the case with iBurst," he adds.
After the consultants from RDB provided their findings as well as documentation, recommendations and reports, the responsible service providers then made the necessary changes, and the improvements in
performance were immediately noticeable.
Previously, delays would occur when the turnaround time on business processes did not meet the forecasted targets. The system they experience now is far more stable, and true to RDB Consulting's motto, delivers maximum uptime for improved service delivery.
"For example, one of the processes required to obtain month end billing information was taking up to eight hours to complete. Once the configuration issues were dealt with and performance problems tweaked, the same process took less than an hour to run from start to finish, saving iBurst not only time and money but also the stress associated with the problem too," says Albers.
As a result of RDB's knowledge and expertise when handling migration problems, iBurst renewed the consulting contract to have consultants from RDB on hand as a "fall back" system for the in-house systems administrators.
For any problems that require specialist skills, the consultants from RDB are on hand to assist to ensure the smooth running of the system. As a value added service RDB also delivers weekly reports to advise on the status of the database as well as an on-site monitoring service that sends out alerts and provides the necessary statistics.
"The relationship with RDB gives iBurst the peace of mind. In the event that their in-house systems administrator need assistance, this help is just a phone call away and can be delivered through remote access or on-site support depending on the nature of the problem.
"Because they have their own resources in-house the relationship involves skills transfer, which is extremely beneficial to them as their dependency on us for problem resolution will lessen over time, enabling them to resolve more and more of their own issues and grow the knowledge of their database administrator in the process," says Albers.
"RDB comes highly recommended by their clients, and we selected them as a result of these recommendations. As they were very involved during the implementation and development phases of our upgrade, it made sense for them to continue their role as a support service. They are experts in what they do, with the right resources and a professional approach, making them the natural choice for us," Parvin concludes.