Virtual DBA Case Study

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No outage, no outrage – how WARDY’s Virtual DBA brings food to Aussies’ doors

A lunch-order application that continually crashed was just one issue that convinced food service distributor Countrywide they needed an IT partner with SQL Server experience who could help them manage the moving parts of their business quickly and efficiently. Countrywide

Client: Countrywide


Category: Virtual DBA

Jump to a section

  1. Introduction
  2. Objective
  4. Lack of OUtages and Increased Efficiency
  5. Words of advice from COUNTRYWIDE
  7. About WARDY IT Solutions



A lunch-order application that continually crashed was just one issue that convinced food service distributor Countrywide they needed an IT partner with SQL Server experience who could help them manage the moving parts of their business quickly and efficiently. This included monitoring orders, stock levels, invoices and compliance. They found the perfect solution in the shape of WARDY IT Solutions’ Virtual DBA service which has helped Countrywide step up and gain control of their data, as well as deliver exceptional customer service to their clients.


Objective: Less downtime, more efficiency

Countrywide Food Distributor Australia

As Australia’s largest food services distributor – with more than 115 distributors in its network – Countrywide needed their technology to work as rapidly, accurately and intuitively as today’s tech-savvy customers expect.

However, the customers and business groups that Countrywide were servicing – including bakeries, pubs, clubs, schools and aged care – noticed that their member-based apps were way too slow.

Additionally, the system didn’t have the reporting tools that distributors needed to be across everyday issues, and Countrywide’s business systems were managed by a combination of an in-house team, as well as a third-party hosting company.

When the lunch-order app Munch Monitor that allows schools to offer parents and students online canteen ordering, ‘kept crashing when orders were placed’, Countrywide’s IT Manager Ali Badr knew it was time to bring in external help.

“Our existing service provider was a third-party app provider team – skilled with apps, but not with SQL Server,” he says. “I could have looked into the SQL issues myself, but I was already time-poor dealing with other problems.”

Another third-party company Ali worked with; suggested WARDY IT Solutions might be able to help.

Ali was on the hunt for a company with SQL Server experience. 

“I had given up looking for talent in Australia that understood SQL Server, but WARDY IT made me think twice.”

- Ali Badr, IT Manager, Countrywide

Virtual DBA to the rescue

Ali Badr has a strong background in SQL Server, so when he was considering other prospective IT partners, WARDY IT Solutions’ extensive experience and superior customer experience in this area was what stood out and ultimately counted.

While other companies could have helped in terms of identifying the source of the problems Countrywide was experiencing with its system, Ali’s third-party app provider team wouldn’t have known how to fix them.

What stood out to Ali about WARDY IT Solutions was that their staff – especially the SQL optimisation team – were well-educated, really knew their stuff and were easy to communicate with. “It was amazing the way the engineer from WARDY IT Solutions was able to pinpoint the issue and provide a resolution” says Ali. “Even the application team were amazed to see the problem was solved.”

With Countrywide’s existing service provider relieved that specialist SQL skills were coming in, Ali signed up for WARDY IT Solutions’ Virtual DBA service.

The Virtual DBA service proactively monitors SQL Server databases, reporting any issues and potential impacts on a company’s SQL Server environment. The team of DBAs who underpin the service provide recommendations to address the issues or directly fix them depending on the support model request by the client.

“We couldn’t believe how easily issues were resolved by WARDY IT Solutions providing SQL Server support with the Virtual DBA service,” says Ali.

Countrywide have found the daily health check reports provided by the Virtual DBA team essential in improving the way they work. WARDY IT Solutions also helped Countrywide move everything over to one cloud, something that had been swallowing large amounts of Ali’s time for the last four years. Up until then, there had been numerous data issues with SQL Server, due to the three different locations.

Benefits beyond KPIs

Ali is pleased to report that the lunch-order app that is heavily used by their clients is now working well and Lead Developer, Pawan Chauhan, Under Ali’s guidance shared his analysis to WARDY IT Solutions using a third-party tool, New Relic insights, Identifies key areas to look in to, but other benefits to Countrywide of using WARDY IT Solutions’ Virtual DBA service include:

  • Lack of outages:With the Virtual DBA service and Countrywide’s application teams working side by side, any encryption or outage issues have been easily identified and resolved as soon as possible. WARDY IT Solutions were quick to notify Ali on multiple occasions when an outage could have occurred, preventing any major issues arising.
  • Greater efficiency:The multiple teams that work together to make sure Countrywide’s application and systems are running smoothly, have become more efficient now that the knowledge gap around SQL Server has been filled. Ali said there is so much trust in the Virtual DBA team, that “Our application team are becoming totally dependent on WARDY IT Solutions.”
  • Increased productivity:With 24/7 access to the Virtual DBA team, Ali and his team were freed up to concentrate on other business focus areas and could leave the SQL Server migration and any issues that arose to the experts.
  • Access to reporting:Performance reports are easily accessible for Ali and his team to assess if Countrywide’s servers are performing as they should and if there is a risk of an outage happening.

Although downtime and outages were never tracked in Countrywide’s KPIs, both distributors and customers have noticed that Countrywide’s system doesn’t have these issues anymore and is running a lot smoother. Ali says whereas the system used to be unpredictable – whereby anything could go wrong, not just with the apps – it now runs exactly as it should.

“SQL Server issues can be critical and make a business lose customers. You need top DBAs to come to the rescue. I’m always happy to advocate for WARDY IT Solutions in terms of SQL Server support.”

– Ali Badr, IT Manager, Countrywide

Just the start of a great partnership

Countrywide’s partnership with WARDY IT Solutions is set to continue, with Ali engaging WARDY IT Solutions to redesign their application rather than continuing to do fixes as he sees their knowledge is key to improving this system further. WARDY IT Solutions will build an Azure data link, and once that’s established, Countrywide will move towards a Power BI dashboard.

Countrywide’s vision is for Microsoft’s apps to take care of everything, including security, back-up and disaster recovery. Ali wants them to use the applications and scale up and down as necessary. From that point, they want to use AI to gain insights and to generate leads and will work closely with WARDY IT Solutions to make this happen.

Words of advice from Countrywide

Ali’s advice to any company needing SQL Server expertise is to contact WARDY IT Solutions, who he says tick all the boxes in terms of cost, efficiency, and turnaround time. He says that without the Virtual DBA service, he would have needed to hire at least one full-time DBA which are hard to come by.

“What are you waiting for. Call 1300SQLDBA and work with WARDY.” – Ali Badr, IT Manager, Countrywide

About WARDY IT Solutions

  • 65 employees
  • Information Technology
  • Australia & USA

WARDY IT Solutions are Australia’s leading SQL Server and Business Intelligence specialists. The company creates solutions that enable businesses to maximise returns on their investment in knowledge management. Through the extensive use of Business Intelligence, WARDY IT Solutions help their clients to realise the best possible dividend from their data assets.

WARDY IT Solutions have received numerous industry accolades, most notably the prestigious Microsoft Global Data Platform Partner of the Year in 2013. The organisation is recognised internationally for their innovative solutions, training skills and unwavering commitment to education and furthering the interests of the broader Microsoft SQL Server community.

WARDY IT Solutions deliver:

  • Project Delivery based on time and resources
  • Consultation and Gap analysis
  • SQL Server database design and programming
  • Support services
  • Managed Services and Business Intelligence Solutions
  • Business Intelligence Consulting, including strategy, review, design and implementation of Business Intelligence Solutions