ChannelLife NZ - Support service with strength

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Support service with strength

SQL Services Ltd specialises in providing remote database management and consulting services for Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle database environments throughout NZ, Australia, Asia, the UK, and USA.  General Manager Grant Newport spoke to The Channel from the Nelson office. 
How did it all begin?
It started from a small development team in Computerland Nelson where an opportunity was spotted to remotely manage clients SQL Server installations.  SQL Server was the back end of a lot of the development that was being completed at the time.  SQL Services was then setup as its own business entity.
What changes has the business undergone?
The biggest change that SQL Services has undergone is adding support for Oracle database environments in 2004. Due to our streamlined business processes, we were able to easily replicate our SQL Server database support tools to support Oracle, allowing us to offer our existing SQL Server customers, and potential new customers, support for their Oracle databases also.
SQL Services started with three staff based in Nelson in 1999.  Since then we have grown to be 25 staff based in offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch, who support our large customer base throughout NZ and Australia. We also support servers in Fiji, Singapore, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and London for New Zealand based companies.
We understand that the road to success in this industry is by working very closely with our vendors; therefore, we have made it our focus to become a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner and we are a member of the Oracle Partner Network. We have strong relationships with the majority of the large infrastructure providers throughout New Zealand.  Our growth in developing partner relationships is a big focus for SQL Services.   These partnerships have enabled us to support customers in the provision of end-to-end database solutions, and partners can easily bundle our service offerings along with their own.
What is your core business?
The prime focus for SQL Services is to give IT managers peace of mind that their data is performing optimally, secure and recoverable in event of failure.   SQL Services’ customers are organisations with SQL Server or Oracle environments that are becoming increasingly mission-critical. Our role is to manage the risk associated with data stored in these databases. 
Who are your clients and what business challenges do they face?
Our clients are varied with support provided to a number of government departments, local body governments, educational institutions, retail, and utilities. Some of these customers can have in-house IT and DBA resources who we work alongside, or they can be sites with no IT resource at all who choose to outsource all of their support.
The challenges these customers face are that their infrastructure and databases are mission critical, but they are not of a size to warrant full time resource or they prefer the outsourced model.  They may have a single resource but the business requires support of their environment to be 24/7, 365 days a year, which is obviously very difficult to achieve with only one person. 
What technology is hot right now?
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Oracle 11G.  These are the new versions of the respective database engines which are both due for release within the next  six months. Also, Microsoft SharePoint is going off at the moment.  We are seeing a lot of customers implementing both SharePoint Services and Office SharePoint Server that sit on a SQL Server backend.  There is a lot to consider when deploying this technology as the database can grow significantly very quickly, and there are certainly some specific requirements for managing the database engines and the associated databases, as well as the underlying infrastructure.
What’s not?
Virtualisation, but I need to qualify this.  Don’t get me wrong, virtualisation is a fantastic technology but not necessarily for all servers, especially high transaction volume database servers.  Consideration should be given before virtualising database servers that experience high transaction volumes as these can suffer from not having dedicated hardware.
What’s the best thing about your location?
We find that our customers relate to the fact that we too are regional based and can understand their specific requirements. This has enabled us to create a very effective support system reaching right across the entire country.
Without giving away valuable IP – what do you think is the secret to your success?
Our customers and our people.  Obviously, without our customers there’s no business, but without the team of professional individuals who are truly dedicated to delivering the highest possible level of support we wouldn’t be where we are today.  

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