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.
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
- Data Warehouse Design and Implementation
- SQL Server Reporting Services and Mobile Report Publisher
- Power BI Development.
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.
For some clients we provide a full outsourced DBA service, and for others incidental smaller consulting engagements are carried out.
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.
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 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.
Data Warehouse and Reporting
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 SQL Server Mobile Report Publisher
- 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.
Database as a Service (DBaaS)
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.
Ballard Chalmers experts can help you to:
- Decide where best to store your databases
- Configure on-premises and cloud based databases to best suit your requirements.