Estate agent Knight Frank is to upgrade to Microsoft's latest database, SQL Server 2012, in a bid to boost business intelligence, improve mobile working, ease collaboration and guarantee data availability.
Speaking to Computing, lead software architect at Knight Frank, Joseph Megkousoglou, said that thefirm chose SQL Server 2012 because of its on-going investment in Microsoft technologies.
The new database, which was launched on Tuesday, will replace the company's SQL Server 2008 R2 system.
Megkousoglou said that the company did consider alternatives but that there was no other database server that could offer the company the same features.
"We had invested in Microsoft technology and our whole technology stack is based on [the Microsoft software framework] .NET, so all of the applications that we build internally are available for users internally, but our public website applications are also built on this platform so it would make no sense to consider using different server technology for this," he said.
Adam Siejka, database development manager at Knight Frank, said the move should boost the firm's ability to gain business insight from its data.
"We were looking for an upgrade in terms of performance, particularly to do with business intelligence and analytical capabilities," he said.
Megkousoglou said other attractions included cloud integration, geospatial support, an app paging facility and the mission-critical service, AlwaysOn.
"For me, cloud integration is key. Looking at moving everything off-premise onto the cloud makes sense.
"Another feature is the app paging facility. Developers who have to page for the web will know what a nightmare it is but this small addition that Microsoft has made to the SQL 2012 server has saved loads of our experts' time," he said.
"Another key feature is geospatial support. Since we deal with properties and use external applications and mobile applications, the geodata that the product can retrieve is important.
"Finally, the AlwaysOn feature is important because we don't have opening hours [online]. We can't have downtime on our servers. With the SQL Server 2012 we get maximum uptime, data availability and level of compliance at all times," he said.
Siejka said that a new unified toolset that SQL 2012 uses has enabled the Knight Frank staff to work more productively.
"SQL 2012 has enhanced the toolset around SQL server. Previously you had different toolsets, management database and SQL queries. Now it has unified this toolset within a digital studio. That enables our teams to collaborate more effectively, where we can all effectively use and talk about the same tool set," he said.
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