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SQL Server

Ballard Chalmers principals have been leading the way in SQL Server consulting for over 30 years. A Microsoft Gold Partner, you can trust in our team for both off-site and on-site consulting services – we can support all your SQL database needs from planning, development, performance tuning and integration to ongoing DBA support.

SQL Server and Azure SQL Database

You would be hard-put to find better knowledge and experience of Microsoft’s Data Platform in the UK.

You would be hard-put to find better knowledge and experience of Microsoft’s Data Platform in the UK.

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:

  • Transact-SQL
  • Performance Tuning
  • SQL Server Health Checks
  • Data Security and Encryption
  • SQL Server Database Administration
  • Data Warehouse Design and Implementation
  • SQL Server Reporting Services and Mobile Report Publisher
  • Power BI Development.


Ballard Chalmers develops, re-engineers, deploys and manages enterprise applications in the cloud, hybrid or on-premises. As Microsoft Gold partners and leading professionals, our suite of comprehensive services enables speed to market, scalability and futureproofing for business-critical applications. We’d like you to consider us your outsourced IT department.


As Microsoft Gold partners, our consultants are industry veterans and experts in the features and technology of Microsoft technology. Bring in our consultants for small engagements such as advice, recommendations, risk management review or licencing assessments; or larger engagements such as proof of concept or application failure resolution.


We can provide ongoing application support for custom software whether we built it or it is an existing system. Our support staff are fully qualified software engineers, not helpdesk staff. That means your support team will be very familiar with the technology used and be able to provide the expertise you need, when you need it.


Increase the capacity of your in-house team for custom software development with our expert team augmentation. Take our Microsoft Gold partner expertise and give your team the boost required to get your development completed. If you are tight for deadlines or taking on a larger project than normal in-house, this is a simple and fast solution.

Database Administration

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
  • Monitoring
  • Upgrading SQL Server versions.

For some clients we provide a full outsourced DBA service, and for others incidental smaller consulting engagements are carried out.

Transact-SQL Development

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.


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 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.

An experienced engineer can carry out a performance review on any system to proactively reduce the risk of performance issues in the future.

Featured Case Study

Database Performance Review for international invoice collections firm


With data warehousing, processing and analytics is simpler and more accessible, helping you transform your data into intelligent action.

Ballard Chalmers Business Intelligence (BI) experts can design and load a data warehouse, as well as design effective dashboards and reports, including:

  • Designing Star / Snowflake schemas
  • Using Change Tracking and/or CDC (Change Data Capture) as a means to optimise incremental data loads
  • Designing effective ETL (Extract Transform and Load) to load data into the Data Warehouse using SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) or Azure Data Factory (ADF)
  • Optimising data access for aggregate queries using SQL Server Analysis Server (SSAS) or Azure Analysis Services, in Multi-Dimensional or Tabular mode
  • Developing reports using SQL Server SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) or Power BI
  • Creating build in dashboards and reports using Power BI Services or Power BI Embedded. Automate the control and distribution of reports using the Power BI API.

Geoff Ballard is our co-founder and Chief Technical Officer.

Recognised as a leader in SQL Server, Geoff has been a consultant in the technology since the very first beta release, as well as an all round expert in Microsoft enterprise technology.

We invite you to take advantage of a no-cost informal review and discussion of your data estate with him.


Traditionally SQL Server has been deployed on-premises, but cloud-based deployments are becoming more much more popular, and Microsoft have now started to add new features to the Cloud versions in advance of the on-premises versions.

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 more a 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: 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.

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 standard produced from this partnership was vibrant and informative for the team. The Databix Vision and outcomes have grown substantially since the data cubes were handed over. The implementation of the cubes and the descriptions around measures enabled the developers to create many layers of business intelligence from a Sales and Stock perspective.

Application Development Manager – Weetabix

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 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 help 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

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

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

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

SMT, together with Ballard Chalmers have broken new ground with Mia. It is truly an innovative business intelligence and process management application that transforms data into smart business process by fully automating an optimal balance between achieving best receivables performance against best operational efficiency.

CEO – Square Marble Technology

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


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