The case study below was submitted by Russell Millwee, Manager of Network Services at Tuesday Morning
Brief description of Tuesday Morning and SQL Server usage environment:
Tuesday Morning began in 1974 as a purveyor of excess inventory across numerous categories. We are headquartered in Dallas, where we began, and we have some 500 stores across most of the U.S. Microsoft SQL Server is our primary database environment for all backend tools. These are primarily our point-of-sale system, data warehouse, and all merchandising and business intelligence systems. We also have an in-house integration tool that relies on SQL Server.
Why did Tuesday Morning choose SQL Solutions Group for its database needs?
We knew about Randy and SSG from a former DBA who had worked with Randy at Match.com. After a different DBA left for another opportunity, we were a bit lost without that SQL expertise. We contacted Randy and liked the level of expertise he and SSG brought to the table. We’ve been leaning on them pretty heavily for help with what we can’t handle ourselves.
Describe the scope of the work SQL Solutions Group undertook for Tuesday Morning.
SQL Solutions Group supports our Tier 1 systems—merchandising, point-of-sale, data warehousing, business intelligence, and the integration server.
We’re running everything on VMWare, and most of the work has focused on optimizing volumes, like allocating paravirtual SCSI adapters, formatting volumes with 64k block size, etc. There’s also index maintenance, work on back-ups and restores, DB integrity checks, and installation of SentryOne SQL Sentry for monitoring and alerting.
SSG has also worked with our compliance team on reporting from our HR system. For example, every day we get a matrix report generated by SQL Server that includes all new hires and terminations. This dictates work for adding new users and their permissions, or deactivating users in the system. And there’s also the day-to-day care of the systems, or addressing issues at come up, even in the middle of the night or on weekends. SSG is great at getting to the root of the problem.
Recently, SSG helped us set up a new database availability group to help us handle RF scanner traffic for price markdowns in stores. That’s a lot of read data coming in from stores every night. Randy helped us build this DAG to help with all the reads, so we’ll be rolling this out across the chain in the coming months.
What were the outcomes of this work?
We see great improvements in performance across the board. We used to have a lot of trouble with our overnight batch process that would start at midnight and run to 6 a.m., and now it’s running much better with fewer interruptions. There are far fewer calls in the middle of the night to address issues. We used to have to reboot our point-of-sale application issue every Friday, but after SSG did their work, this problem has virtually gone away. With SQL Sentry, we have much better monitoring, alerting, and visibility into what is going on. We know when jobs are going too long, or when backups fail, and that’s something auditors like to see.
How did the project help Tuesday Morning be more competitive and/or productive?
The application supporting price markdowns is a big deal for us, because in the past, we had to do it in bulk, for everything. With the hand-held scanners in the store, the team member can scan certain products and do the markdown right then on one or two products instead of an across-the-board markdown. That kind of agility means laser-focused pricing strategy on certain products or product categories. That’s an advantage.
SSG will also be helpful with SQL Server licensing, helping us know what we need, what we can get rid of, and where we can be more efficient. There’s potentially noticeable ROI from that because SQL Server licensing makes a big impact on the bottom line.
What would you tell a company that was considering using the services of SQL Solutions Group?
SSG offers unparalleled SQL expertise and knowledge. They’re really the cream of the crop.