This article was first published in the Spring 2014 issue of Prime
Founded in 1916, BMW Group is a global automobile and motorcycle manufacturer with 25 production facilities in 14 countries. It supports hundreds of mission-critical business applications, many of which are based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 software, running on the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. Because these applications are used on a daily basis by everyone from financial services and manufacturing employees to agents at dealerships, it is essential they are highly available. To meet this obligation, the company needs to maintain a 99.999% availability requirement.
However, maintaining high availability with the company’s previous system was increasingly costly. Scalability was also important, because the organisation’s 70-terabyte SQL Server databases were growing at an average of 20-30% per year. More internal customers were demanding new databases to keep up with that growth, and the firm needed to meet that demand while decreasing costs.
In spring 2013, to address its needs for high availability and scalability, BMW Group decided to search for cost-effective new database technology. The organisation found what it was looking for in SQL Server 2014 Enterprise, which includes AlwaysOn Availability Groups. This feature provides high availability and disaster recovery for multiple SQL Server databases without the need for a shared storage area network.
In late 2013, the company started integrating SQL Server 2014 AlwaysOn Availability Groups into its worldwide standard architecture portfolio. Now the organisation no longer needs to use its costly, host-based storage replication solution for database mirroring and disaster recovery.
With SQL Server 2014, BMW Group has gained nearly continuous availability, better use of its resources, and the ability to reduce its total cost of ownership by eliminating its storage replication solution for SQL Server 2014. The company also has better scalability and automatic failover capabilities, and spends less time troubleshooting.
The database solution enables BMW Group to automate primary database maintenance tasks, making IT administration easier and its diagnostic capabilities will help its administrators save time on troubleshooting. The solution also gives the company automatic failover capabilities, greatly improving disaster recovery. Additionally, it expects to reduce its operating costs significantly because it no longer needs to use its storage replication solution.
With SQL Server 2014 Availability Groups, BMW Group can ensure high availability for its critical internal and customer-facing applications. As a result, the company can easily meet its 99.999% availability requirement, and it can perform system maintenance without affecting business operations.
Because SQL Server 2014 AlwaysOn Availability Groups support up to eight secondary replicas, BMW Group will be able to easily keep up with its database growth. AlwaysOn Availability Groups also provides the flexibility to move things around, which makes it easy to contain databases for specific hardware components. This will help administrators save time in isolating anomalies and identifying problems.
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