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International Case Studies

Independent Broadcast Company - Qatar

Problem/Opportunity

The Client is an independent broadcast company owned by the state of Qatar and headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, it has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages & is accessible in several world regions. The Client was facing a number of challenges with its billing system. The primary site was hosted in Qatar on two SQL clusters with a secondary site hosted in France. Connection between the two sites was not direct with the connection being made through the DC. The Secondary site needed to be brought up to speed in terms of data with a downtime of no more than 60 minutes. The client also wanted to know its options in case the network went down. The goal of the Architecture Design Review (ADR) was to provide recommendations to design High Availability & Disaster Recovery architecture to increase SQL Server concurrency, throughput, scalability, uptime, reliability and manageability.

Solution/Capabilities

There were a total of three sites involved in the architecture. The main Data Center was hosted in Qatar, local site at client’s premises, France which had to be the DR site and the active-passive cluster was hosted at QDC with SBS database. Application made real time bank transactions, so it was not feasible to go for asynchronous mirroring. Local site was not accessible to users and there was no connectivity between France and the QDC site. QDC and local site was connected through 4 mbps line which was shared across multiple applications.   France site was accessible over the internet from local site over VPN with a speed of around 250 kbps to 300 kbps. After discussions with key stakeholders SE made the following recommendations:

  1. Synchronous Mirroring from QDC site to local site, create snapshot at local site & send incremental data through SSIS to France site.
  2. Upgrade to SQL 2008 and implement mirroring solution.
  3. Upgrade to SQL 2008 and implement Change Data Capture (CDC) which would be helpful in capturing changed data & send it to local site as well as France.
  4. Replication from QDC site to local site with Republication from local site to France.  

 

Short POC for Mirroring from QDC site to local site on test database was performed. Also, POC for exporting data through SSIS to France site was done and both POCs were successful to validate recommendations provided by SE.

Results

The engagement including POC was completed in five days and the client team validated the successful mirroring of the test database. The POC on Mirroring helped prove the advantages that the clients would have post implementation of the recommendations. Some of these included real time data copy from QDC site to local site, Incremental data load from local site to France site, no specific hardware requirement and no data loss. Based on this exercise the company plans to deploy the project to support its global expansion and business growth plans.

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