Global Retail Company.

Delivering a global retail company’s strategic move away from Oracle to a cloud-native database, on Azure SQL PaaS.

The Challenge.

As a major global retailer with more than 100,000 employees worldwide, the company has a significant online presence and thousands of stores located around the world. The retailer had made the strategic decision to move to more commercially attractive options in terms of database operations and licensing. It engaged Nordcloud and IBM to be its transformation and remediation partner, on the back of a previous public cloud migration initiative.

Oracle is traditionally seen as one of the leading database platforms in the world for large, high-performance, business critical solutions, often coupled with a demand for high availability. 

As such, licenses for Oracle databases tend to come at a premium, and securing skills to deploy and to support the underlying infrastructure can make things both complex and expensive. Its licensing can also sometimes be complicated to translate to public clouds, leading to even further increases in cost.

The Solution: Replatforming to Azure SQL PaaS.

The Nordcloud approach included an initial assessment of the application databases in scope, together with the client SMEs. The retailer had already decided to go cloud native with their databases, so we engaged with the key stakeholders during the interviews to come up with a design and plan to go from their current set-up to a new architecture. 

The actual transformation was delivered in close collaboration with the customer development team. The development team updated their applications to make them compatible with Azure SQL, while Nordcloud DBREs worked in the database stream, focusing on:

  • The design of the new architecture based on Azure SQL DB PaaS.
  • Converting the schema and data from Oracle to Azure SQL.
  • Helping the development team with application testing, and identifying conversion issues.
  • Helped with data sanitation, by finding and fixing invalid data, that had resulted from previous application errors.

The Results.

The benefits of refactoring Oracle databases from virtual machines to Azure SQL databases included:

  • Having a cloud native database, delivered as PaaS. This simplifies the management by removing much of the administrative toil, while still increasing the availability of the databases.
  • Significantly lowering the total cost of ownership for the application databases, when compared to price and maintenance costs for Oracle licenses.
  • Adding the ability to scale up or down databases quickly, based on the application workload requirements.
  • Going through the database and the application also revealed some existing design choices, that were forgotten, such as support for a multilingual data model.