EDAG adopts Nutanix DBaaS solution to drive greater efficiency and speed
Nutanix Era Helps EDAG Adapt to Fast-Paced World of Software Development for Electric Vehicles
Relational databases are the foundation of many business processes, but traditional deployments with legacy infrastructure make provisioning a slow and complex process. As an engineering services firm, EDAG needed a faster and more flexible way to provide developers with database resources to meet the demands from customers for more rapid results.
“The most important thing for us was the performance of the database server. This is what is amazing for us - we have 50 percent faster transactions on applications using the databases with the Nutanix Era cluster.”
- Andreas Weber, Senior Systems Engineer, EDAG
- Nutanix Era Enables continuous backup using snapshots
- Database provisioning reduced from three to five days to about four hours
- Developers can create or clone databases with no need to file a support ticket
- Reduced administrative effort for patching SQL servers
- Developers automatically get fresh copies of production databases each day, making development process smoother
- Database clones let developers use copies of production databases without risk of losing data
- Preparation time of reports for licensing managers halved - from four or eight hours to one or two hours
Nutanix Cloud Platform with Nutanix Era
- Acropolis Operating System (AOS), including native AHV hypervisor and Distributed Storage Fabric (DSF)
- Prism management
- Nutanix Era DBaaS
EDAG is an independent engineering services provider for the global automotive and aviation industries, with a portfolio that includes vehicle development, development of production facilities and electrical and electronic systems.
Supporting the activities of EDAG’s engineers and software developers are various databases, managed by instances of Microsoft SQL Server. These were originally hosted on Windows Server virtual machines, atop a cluster of VMware-based servers.
However, managing the databases proved to be a headache for EDAG’s IT staff. Provisioning new databases or making copies of production databases for developers to work with was a complex and time consuming process that took several days and had to be performed manually. Few staff were qualified for the task, and these had to work extra hours to prevent deadlines slipping.
This was a hindrance for the company, as its industry is increasingly fast-paced thanks to growing use of digital technology and customer satisfaction calls for a rapid response, according to EDAG Senior Systems Engineer Andreas Weber.
“When customers come to us with a challenge, they are looking for a service provider who can provide not only the best solution, but one that can deliver that solution quickly. If a database takes four or five days to create, that simply won’t do. It is essential that we maintain our fast response time or run the risk of losing out to other service providers,” Weber says.
The administrative effort required to maintain all the SQL databases also meant that the DBAs had no time to assist the developers with database query problems.
Another issue for EDAG was that the preparation of reports for the company’s license manager sometimes took four to eight hours, and any such delays might impact the manager’s ability to make licensing changes to save money.
In an effort to optimise database operations and reduce the administrative effort in maintaining them, EDAG chose to deploy Nutanix Era, a database-as-a-service (DBaaS) platform. This is a complete database lifecycle management tool with a high degree of automation, allowing users to carry out even complex actions at the click of a button.
Era runs atop the Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure platform, itself created to simplify the deployment of infrastructure for applications and services. This means that the two integrate tightly to manage not only the databases, but also the operating environment.
“In comparison to competitors, Nutanix Era offers a complete package with which we minimise that administrative effort and at the same time receive the optimal configuration of hardware and software, all from a single source,” Weber says.
According to Weber, one feature that made EDAG choose Era was the ability to quickly snapshot a database then clone it, saving several hours over manual methods, in order to allow developers to work on a copy of a production database without the risk of losing data during development work.
Era also makes it easier to backup databases, and simplifies the creation of new databases ready with the appropriate configuration for EDAG’s purposes, according to Weber.
“This is the best solution for standardisation. All database servers in our environment are provisioned by Era, and so they are the same configuration, the same standardisation, and now all people on our environment with the appropriate rights can provision a database,” he says.
Faster Databases and Easier Provisioning
“The most important thing for us was the performance of the database server. This is what is amazing for us - we have 50 percent faster transactions on applications using the databases with the Nutanix Era cluster,” says Weber. This means a new project can be started in about one or two days, while in the past it was five or six days.
EDAG has also been able to implement standardised database management using Nutanix Era to automatically provision databases of the correct configuration with little more than the click of a button. The result is that the company has been able to shorten the provisioning of databases to about four hours when it used to take three to five days.
“Our database administrators are enthusiastic about Era, they can now authorise new databases with little effort. We can invest the time that our database administrators save on the further development of our business services internally, like Windows Services or Linux Servers, and can support our developers in their daily work,” says Weber.
“With the Era feature for database clones from a snapshot, we can use this automatically in the morning, and the developers have a new fresh database state every day,” he adds. This allows them to continue development work without delay, as they automatically have an up to date data set to work with.
Reduced Administrative Effort for Patching SQL Servers
“With Era, we can trust that if we patch once on one database server, that applies on all database servers,” Weber says, which saves hours of time on manually updating all the systems. “We can test the patches on our test environment, and once these patches are successful, patch the production environment and we can then trust that it is all running correctly,” he adds, which reduces the chance of updates causing issues.
Nutanix Era has also allowed the company to slash the time that it takes to prepare reports for the company’s software license managers, thanks to the increased performance of the Nutanix platform compared with the legacy infrastructure.
“The daily run jobs for this licensing software was in the past four or eight hours, but with Nutanix, the same job with the same configurations and applications can run in one or two hours,” says Weber.
Enabling Self-Service Provisioning for Developers
“This is the next step for us. We want to use Era and Calm (application orchestration and lifecycle management) to combine these two features to complete the automated process of database creation. With self-service a developer can request a database, a database administrator approves this and the database automatically creates it and sends notification to the requester with information about the server, the database settings and the access rights,” Weber explains. In addition, EDAG also has some legacy Oracle databases that the company now plans to migrate across to be managed by Era.
“Our leadership thinks that Nutanix Era is a great and excellent solution with which we can implement standardised database management, so that every time you create a database it is to the same standard,” says Weber.
“The automotive industry is changing to an electric industry or to a software-based industry, but the electric cars need more software and more software development in the car. This is the change that we have made for our company, to enable shorter times for providing new services in our IT,” he adds.
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