Case study

A complete view of the entire SQL Server estate

Customer

UK retailer and manufacturer of baby products

Challenge

Balancing the maintenance of a large estate with adding business value

Solution

A powerful, configurable, and easy to use monitoring tool

Results

An improved team culture and time savings of two hours a day

The customer

Mamas & Papas (M&P) is a UK-based retailer and manufacturer supplying strollers (prams and pushchairs), baby products, furniture, and maternity wear. It was established in Huddersfield, UK in 1981 and has grown as a family business to become one of the top nursery brands.

M&P has over 35 stores in the UK & Ireland with a growing number of franchise stores in the Middle East, Far East, North America, South America, and Taiwan.

With a turnover of $133m, it employs nearly 1,000 employees in its head office and across its retail stores. Matt Haigh is the Senior Database Administrator with the infrastructure team. His team look after 65 SQL Servers across both the head office and the stores, which run Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) systems.

1,000 employees $133 million turnover 65 SQL Servers

"We were administering our monitoring tools as much as we were our SQL Server estate."

The challenge

After considering several options, Matt decided on SQL Monitor because it was hugely powerful and configurable, and also easy to use. He was pleased he did so.

"The people at Redgate were brilliant during the whole setup process and gave us a lot of support and advice to make sure we were getting the most out of SQL Monitor."

Thanks to the intuitive interface, everyone in the team was also able to make the most of the many features of SQL Monitor very quickly. Having installed SQL Monitor across the SQL Server estate, however, Matt decided to try something radical that would also dramatically improve the way they worked.

"SQL Monitor exceeded our expectations. It gave us the overviews and insight we were looking for but it also helped us free up the inbox. We decided not to have any email alerts sent from SQL Monitor but instead use the built-in integration with Slack to send any alerts to our Slack channel. Rather than constantly checking emails, we wanted a more visual approach to monitoring. I also got my inbox back."

"SQL Monitor became the benchmark tool that we judged all others against. It had to be simple to set up across our stores and, most importantly, make our lives easier."

The solution

"Redgate was the first place we started looking and SQL Monitor became the benchmark tool that we judged all others against. It had to be simple to set up across our stores and most importantly, make our lives easier."

The move to Slack notifications was a big shift for the team and the effect was immediate. There are no longer any mandatory checks to run in the morning, because SQL Monitor monitors everything constantly. Instead, Matt can simply check the Slack channel and, via the screens showing SQL Monitor in the office, see if any issues have occurred and schedule them into the day’s workload.

“We’ve also given the rest of IT access to the Slack channel, so if there is a problem they can check what’s happening, see that we’re working on it, and know when the issue has been resolved. We don’t have anybody phoning us up or sending us emails because everybody knows exactly what’s going on.”

"SQL Monitor has changed the culture of the team and made our jobs more enjoyable and productive."

The results

Importantly, the move to SQL Monitor and Slack hasn’t just had an impact on the DBA team but the wider IT department. The CIO can look at the SQL Monitor screens and see at a glance if there are any issues and also know which stores are busy that day.

The developers, who are always keen to understand the impact of any new software releases, can use the new SQL Monitor reporting module to take benchmarks and instantly identify any problems their latest release has caused, or any increase in performance they have achieved.

Everyone can directly see the impact of database or application changes.

"Now we have SQL Monitor, we arrive in the morning, grab a coffee, check for any problems, and then get stuck into the project work that’s going on to benefit the business. It’s saved us a least two hours a day in just monitoring the systems, probably more if you add how it’s enabled us to change the way we work. For me, that’s been the biggest benefit."

Whitepaper

How SQL Server monitoring benefits your whole organization

In this guide, we take you through the ways a robust SQL Server monitoring solution has a positive impact across your organization, from the development teams to IT management, and from finance to the C-suite.

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