Sam360 Customer Stories
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SQL licensing changes were making us nervous, with the potential impact on IT if we got this wrong!
With a proposed database consolidation on the cards, and a move from physical to virtual environments, GE Money required a root and branch overhaul of how best to optimise its SQL footprint. As major licensing changes were about to be announced by Microsoft with the release of SQL 2012, it needed expertise in understanding what best route to take, which would also help them with future deployments. “SQL licensing changes were making us nervous, with the potential impact on IT if we got this wrong?” said IT Operations Director, Sean Mooney.
From project initiation, Sam360 identified all GE Money Ireland SQL implementations using its discovery tool. Sam360 also worked with the key stakeholders from both a business and IT perspective to understand current SQL usage and licensing. Its SQL baseline analysis enabled discourse amongst stakeholders, which led to ring-fencing of legacy implementations, intermediate migration deployments, and future infrastructure requirements. This in turn led to mapping an optimised maximum virtualisation SQL licensing solution. Sam360 proposed that an eight-core virtual host be fully licensed by SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition with Software Assurance in order to take advantage of maximum virtualisation and implement high availability functionality for SQL Server. Sam360 also identified where GE Money could optimise its development environment with SQL Server Developer Edition licensing in place of MSDN licensing. The IT Department then set about;
- Retiring physical databases including those running on out-of-support database technology SQL 2000
- Consolidating, virtualising and upgrading SQL server databases
- Licensing SQL Server development environment with Developer Edition
"We were surprised at how many legacy SQL servers were still active, which clearly needed addressing. The move to a maximum virtualisation model also provided us with a streamlined management and support model which was badly needed. IT and database administrators were much clearer that things were being done the right way as well as having scalability for back-ups, new deployments and upgrades. The savings and flexibility with the changes to SQL testing and development was also a project winner" said project sponsor Sean Mooney.
Within six months GE Money was able to confidently create a transition path from a complicated physically and virtually licensed SQL environment, to an easier managed maximum virtualisation model. SQL Software Assurance also provided the IT Department with the security of high availability, particularly for mission its critical databases. Licensing its SQL development environment with SQL Developer Licensing enabled a much more cost effective solution instead of using MSDN. As Sean Mooney explains "Without the expert consultancy of Sam360 from both a product and services perspective; we would still be holding onto legacy SQL software and licensing models, which would have held us back. Now we have freed up IT to have fewer fire-fighting worries to be concerned about, while also providing peace of mind as regards our licensing position"
Waterford Stanley decided to outsource its SAM management on the basis that it did not have the time or resources to maintain in-house. The daily demands of its successful business meant that it needed to look elsewhere; and it wanted to ensure that it was eliminating waste and redundancy as it felt it was over-licensing in some areas, and under-licensing in others. As Michael Power, IT Manager explains 'We would attempt our own in-house management, but to be honest, it's too complex an area between just two of us in the IT Department. We needed to find a partner who would help us on an ongoing basis to make sure we were up-to-date on our license position”
Waterford Stanley deployed Sam360's discovery tool in agentless mode, to take advantage of cloud-based benefits. Sam 360 was able to remotely collect inventory from clients and servers; also providing transparency to Waterford Stanley with this data through its own client portal. Twice yearly, Sam360's consultants;
- Conduct a Microsoft baseline review to analyse Waterford Stanley's Microsoft license position
- Give recommendations on licensing core Microsoft technologies
- Use Sam360 tools to remotely remove software as instructed by Waterford Stanley
- Give guidance to the IT Department on licensing solutions based on future plans
"We operate in niche business market which means every avenue to optimising IT is a huge business and competitive advantage for us. Using Sam360 in agentless mode means we don't have another IT solution to manage and support; it's a simple '3-click' deployment for us. The rich real-time inventory data, which we have complete access to, is fantastic compared to the limited inventory tool we used before, which never gave us the full picture. The six-monthly health-check with Sam360 consultants, and ability to remove software for us, means we know we are staying on top of our license position" continued Michael Power.
Through its combined usage of Sam360 cloud-based tools, processes and people, Waterford Stanley IT is minimising risks of over or under licensing, eliminating software waste and redundancy and optimising current licensing solutions. The net results of the relationship with Sam360 means that Waterford Stanley can focus on supporting its business in the manufacturing of best-in-class heating solutions. As Michael Power states "At this stage in our relationship, Sam360 know our Microsoft infrastructure as well as we do and are like an extension to the IT department"
At this stage in our relationship, Sam360 know our Microsoft infrastructure as well as we do and are like an extension to the IT department
The CRC underwent initially underwent a Microsoft SAM Baseline to evaluate where they were from an infrastructure and licensing perspective. It knew that that its client inventory included legacy software as well as a variety of Office versions and editions. With nearly its entire server infrastructure now virtualised, it also queried how it could optimise its server licensing model. “Like most organisations embarking on a refresh cycle, we wondered how we could do things better? With the changes from physical to virtual environments, as well as the need to minimise the burden on IT support managing a heterogeneous Office application environment, we needed outside help and expertise” said IT Manager, Simeon Owens.
CRC deployed Sam360 inventory tool and engaged Sam360 services to get an end-to-end view of its Microsoft environment, from which it was able to;
- Develop plans to standardise its Office applications
- Determine the licensing model to best fit its virtualised Windows server environment
"We are a charitable status organisation, and as such, strategic IT has been a major challenge with other priorities taking precedence. Over the years, Office was deployed in a piecemeal approach meaning there were lots of versions and editions out there, which was leading to frustration for both IT to support, and for end-users with compatibility issues inside and outside the organisation. We also had a virtual server environment which we wanted to ensure was going to be licensed aligning with where our IT was going" stated Simeon Owens.
Using Sam360 tools and services provided CRC with understanding how it was licensed from desktop to datacenter. This is turn created the building blocks from which CRC was able to scope for standardisation on client Office and an optimised move to Windows Datacenter licensing in its virtual environment. As Simeon Owens concludes "Identifying and taking the opportunities to standardise on our licensing and on upgrading Microsoft software platforms has strengthened our IT organisation to deliver the important services that CRC was set-up to do. Sam360 played a pivotal role in helping us with the design, scope and execution of our strategic IT, taking us to the next level"
Sam360 played a pivotal role in helping us with the design, scope and execution of our strategic IT, taking us to the next level.