AUT streamlines database systems

AUT was first established as an educator in 1895, but is New Zealand’s newest university - it was granted university status in 2000. In 2013 27,000 students were enrolled, studying 187 unique qualifications.

The Challenge

AUT University needed to provide a more robust, cost-effective database service to all business units. The existing environment had become very disparate, with no adherence to either standard installation procedures or best practice management.

There was uncertainty about whether database backups were working properly, and the university was concerned about data loss as a result of backups failing. Database availability was not high enough and there was no disaster recovery plan in place.

Another challenge that AUT faced was security. There was relatively open access to business databases, allowing people with no need for access to get into the database platform and potentially view sensitive information stored in the databases.

In 2013, AUT approached Datacom with plans to move to a shared database platform for all business units. A shared database environment was seen as a way to start fresh, reduce costs, and provide a secure, best practice based database platform.

The Datacom Solution

Datacom recommended AUT perform an initial SQL Server Environment Review, which would review all of the core database servers and complete a gap analysis of the current environment against best practices.

After the review was completed, Datacom and AUT began taking steps to consolidate and migrate systems onto a new SQL Server 2012 platform. To provide the required resiliency and availability, the environment would utilise the new High Availability/Disaster Recovery functionality in SQL Server 2012, called AlwaysOn.

The first step was to show AUT University a proof of concept by standing up two servers. After the proof of concept was designed, built and proven, the solution was extended to four servers.

This provided AUT with a stable, well-maintained, highly available SQL Server database platform from which the core business databases are now run from.

AUT University has since mirrored this design to implement a new Student Management System as well as a new HR and Payroll system. 

The University now has a consolidated, secure, best practice SQL server database platform.

“Since the installation of SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups, our databases have been a lot more resilient to outages, are performing more efficiently, and we’re able to scale the environment to meet future demands.”

Siva Puppala - Enterprise Applications Consultant – DBA, AUT