Arriva UK Bus is a major public transport operator, based in Sunderland and operating c.6,000 buses across the north, south, east and west of England, coupled with Wales.
A subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn since 2010, it currently employs 16,000 people, providing a vital service for many regions of the UK and has been in operation since the 1980s before expanding into mainland Europe.
Going back to 2015, Arriva Bus had a large estate of SQL Server which had grown organically, often with new applications being deployed on standalone servers. This had led to challenges with the performance management of the databases. There were also cost implications relating to how the systems were being licensed and maintained, whilst ensuring vendor compliance.
Arriva asked Node4 to address two requirements.
Firstly, it asked Node4 to review a key SQL Server database running a critical EPOS application which was suffering from significant performance degradation. Node4 undertook a detailed assessment of the environment including analysis of application queries and indexing strategy coupled with infrastructure performance. This resulted in a clear set of recommendations and agreed remediation actions.
Arriva also asked Node4 to assess the entire SQL Server estate and provide recommendations for a modernised and consolidated configuration.
Through detailed onsite review sessions, Node4 were able to identify four alternative architecture options for the SQL Server environment. They documented the pros and cons of each solution, taking into consideration the complexity, supportability and cost implications for each of the options. This enabled Arriva to make an informed decision on the future design of the environment.
Node4 effectively optimised the SQL Server databases and built an upgraded SQL Server AAG (Always on Availability Group) using a multi-site 3-node cluster. This resulted in a significant consolidation of infrastructure and reduction in software licensing cost.
Node4 continue to provide a 24*7 Managed Service including proactive monitoring and performance management of the SQL Server estate. They continue to modernise the environment with migration and management of instances, using both Azure and internal data centre platforms.
Arriva considered a number of DBA services partners for assisting with their challenges and Node4 were able to quickly demonstrate an effective business and cultural fit.