Fish4 hooks £2m saving by moving database in-house

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Fish4 hooks £2m saving by moving database in-house

Cliff Saran

Recruitment site Fish4.co.uk has saved £2m in less than 12 months by moving its hosted database in-house.

The site, which processes 30 million searches a month, has switched from a hosted Sybase database search engine running on Sun hardware to an internally run Microsoft SQL Server 2005 database using Unisys ES7000 server hardware.

The company aims to triple its revenue during 2007, but said the contract it had with its datacentre hosting company would have made it expensive to scale the database to support this growth.

Richard Yeo, chief technology ­officer at Fish4, said, "We were tied to a very expensive contract."

The site was also experiencing technical glitches in its Sybase database in January and February 2006, Fish4's busiest months for recruitment, Yeo said.

With the contract up for renewal, Yeo looked for alternatives and opted for SQL Server. The product shares many similarities with Sybase, as both were originally based on the same software.

One of Yeo's team spent five weeks moving the Fish4 search application over to Microsoft SQL Server. The migration involved 200 tables and 800 database objects. A proof of concept of the new application was ready by March 2006.

Two databases were run in parallel to make it possible for the IT team to maintain the live Sybase system while developing the SQL Server version of the site.

"We installed new development work on Sybase first then ported the code to SQL Server," said Yeo. In August, the site is expected to add an improved search based on the Fast ESP search engine, which will use the data in the Microsoft SQL Server database.

Alf Franklin, sales manager at Sybase, said, "Fish4 had previously signed up to an IT infrastructure that was more sophisticated than it needed and, as a result, had costs associated with it that were equally as high."

Sybase said Fish4's performance issues were not specifically related to the configuration of Sybase, but were found to be related to Fish4's configuration.

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