Ballard Chalmers principals have been leading the way with SQL Server development and the Microsoft Data Platform for over 30 years. As a Microsoft Partner, you can trust our team for both off-site and on-site consulting services. We can help with all your SQL database needs from planning and development to performance tuning, integration and ongoing DBA support, thereby helping organisations save money.
SOME OF OUR SQL Server ENGAGEMENTS
Microsoft Data Platform
Ballard Chalmers is well placed to develop or modernise custom software using the Microsoft Data Platform with years of .NET and SQL experience under our belts.
A keystone of digital transformation is a modern data platform – the bedrock for storing, using and harnessing your data for analytics. The Microsoft Data Platform is based on the core technology of SQL Server.
The platform is fast and flexible with built-in security allowing applications to be built and deployed faster than ever.
Whether you want to migrate your SQL workloads to Azure, support SQL Server databases, modernise your existing SQL Server applications or support modern Azure SQL databases, the Microsoft Data Platform is right for you.
As a Microsoft Partner, we are well-equipped to help you with all your SQL development needs cost-efficiently.
Every engineer in the Ballard Chalmers development team is experienced in Transact-SQL development.
We can help develop:
- Stored Procedures, Triggers and Functions
- Complex SQL Queries
- Transactions and lock management
- Logical and physical database design
- Indexes design and management
- Managing and storing complex data using XML and JSON
- Accessing SQL Server through Entity Framework, ADO and other middleware.
We are delighted with our overall solution. The entire process was relatively painless and although Mike [from Ballard Chalmers] and the Fares and Ticketing team were under pressure and had massive amounts of development work to complete, the system has proved to be highly successful.
Project Manager – TFL
Ballard Chalmers built a .NET/SQL application for one of our Fortune 500 clients that totally exceeded expectations. They rapidly turned complex business processes and an SKU list of thousands into an easy to use application that enabled our client to run a very successful partner awards programme.
CEO – Ratio Creative
Before partnering with Ballard Chalmers Ltd, we were struggling to roll out enough updates. Now, we’re releasing changes and improvements every other week. We’ve pushed out more updates in the last six months than we have in the last three years.
Managing Director – AppCan
Ballard Chalmers brought the whole concept to life. They rapidly grasped the complexity of the business processes involved and created an easy to use tool that has since been expanded significantly. Ballard Chalmers are the experts you can rely on to deliver, easy to work with and cost effective – a fantastic extension to the team.
Managing Director – Mason Zimbler
The best result of their work recently is the portal itself. Until the recent MVP [minimum viable product] went out, we were unable to make emergency bookings through the system. They’ve really improved the functionality and our ability to work with other installers.
Project Manager – OVO Energy
The improvements to the database structure and database performance have been very good. Before we engaged Ballard Chalmers, the database would crash, especially when searches were done. They made some changes in SQL and to the GUI [graphical user interface] and to how the data is extracted and dealt with. There’s been a significant improvement.
Head of IT – Young Epilepsy
We are pleased with Alistair’s work onsite and with the documentation. Alistair was well prepared and helped us to understand the best application of SQL Mirroring for our environment, and he answered our questions in a good level of detail.
ICT Infrastructure Engineer – Islamic Relief Worldwide
Having worked with Ballard Chalmers previously, they were an obvious choice to bring into Mencap to consult on our SQL environment. Geoff Ballard is very knowledgeable and was able to distill our problems and provide proposals on how to proceed. Overall, very happy with the initial completed phase of works.
Programme and Infrastructure Manager – Mencap
The biggest improvements and changes have been related to the databases and proper reporting. We changed over to SQL Server Reporting and that’s been working really well. They’ve helped us build standards reporting and helped us present that data with SharePoint. They also helped build statistical analyses.
Head of IT – Young Epilepsy
I have known and worked with Geoff for at least 10 years as an IT trainer at Learning Tree and as a SQL Server Consultant. Geoff is extremely knowledgeable and an excellent communicator. It would be a pleasure to recommend him to anyone.
Executive coach – Learning Tree International
SQL Server Case Studies
Featured SQL Server case study
Imagination’s London office had been using on-premises SQL Server Virtual Machines (VMs) for their Global Finance System. Ballard Chalmers was brought in to design and deploy the system and migrate the data to Azure. Post-migration, we confirmed server configuration, ran tests and provided ongoing support.
SQL Server and Azure SQL Database
Traditionally SQL Server was deployed on-premises, but cloud-based deployments have become much more cost-efficient and popular, with Microsoft now adding new features to the cloud versions in advance of the on-premises versions.
Our CTO, Geoff Ballard has been a SQL Server consultant since the very first beta release by Microsoft and is a trainer and author in Microsoft technology, including the course ‘Transact-SQL Programming’.
Our expertise covers all aspects of Microsoft SQL Server: Development and DBA for On-Premises and Cloud, OLTP (online transaction processing) and Data Warehouse.
We provide expert help in:
- Performance Tuning
- SQL Server Health Checks
- Data Security and Encryption
- SQL Server Database Administration
- SQL Server Reporting Services and Mobile Report Publisher
- Migrating SQL Servers to the cloud
- Developing applications using SQL & .NET
- Modernising existing SQL Server applications
- Support of modern Azure SQL databases
Deciding where best to host data depends on a number of factors such as the location of the systems that use the data and security, but the advantages of hosting in the cloud are becoming more and more compelling and include:
- Reduced DBA effort, as Microsoft automatically manage deployment, backup and recovery, failover and monitoring
- The ability to scale up to a more powerful database server at any time, with minimal effort and downtime
- Elastic pools to share capacity and costs across a number of databases.
As well as Azure SQL Database, the cloud version of a SQL Server database, there are two other major offerings:
- Azure SQL Database Managed Instance: A cloud-based SQL Server, that can be used in exactly the same way as on-premises SQL Server.
- Azure SQL Data Warehouse/Synapse Analytics: A cloud version of the on-premises SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse, a massive capacity data warehouse machine capable of managing 10s or 100s of Terabytes of data.
TUNING AND OPTIMISATION
With all database servers, performance can become an issue as data volumes and the rate of data change increases.
The larger the system the more attention needs to be paid to performance. Performance tuning can be carried out at any time and involves:
- Monitoring and analysing servers to locate the source of performance issues
- Clustered, non-clustered and column store index design and analysis
- Transaction-SQL query and stored procedure redesign and refactoring
- Physical database table, storage design and managing I/O throughput
- Analysing and minimising issues due to transactions, blocking locks, dead lock and live lock
- Improving procedure and buffer cache utilisation
- Monitoring and managing wait states, particularly for memory, CPU and the transaction log
- Taking advantage of In-Memory Database Tables and Native Compiled Stored Procedures to maximise transaction rates.
We know SQL Server inside out.
Ballard Chalmers’ certified database administrators can provide services on all aspects of SQL Server Database Administration including managing and configuring:
- Clusters, AlwaysOn, Log Shipping and Replication
- Security, encryption, auditing and policy management
- Database storage
- Backup, recovery, and Disaster Recovery
- Upgrading SQL Server versions.
An experienced engineer can carry out a performance review on any system to proactively reduce the risk of performance issues in the future.
We can provide our clients with a fully outsourced DBA service or smaller consulting engagements as required.