Within days after Matthews contacted Progress, the DataDirect team provided Nationwide with trial drivers, and working closely with Nationwide and SAS technical experts, provided a hot fix. “We were certainly impressed with the rapid response of the Progress team, both supplying up-to-date copies of the software with temporary evaluation licenses, and supplying the hot fix,” Matthews says.
Testing continued for two months, the contract signed two months later, and in July the DataDirect solution went live. Nationwide now has a reliable, secure, supported approach to access Windows SQL databases from SAS 9.4 Grid Servers running under Unix.
This vital component was key to the success of the project, which Nationwide is now benefiting from. On the new system, average jobs are running in 25% of the time they used to and there are significantly more sophisticated analytic tools, system monitors and controls available.
“Overall we are getting our month-end processes done in five days instead of ten,” Matthews says. “And we have not experienced any unexpected reliability issues with DataDirect, which is especially important in this business-critical environment.”
Matthews sites three key benefits of DataDirect:
- DataDirect is an actively supported solution by a company that understands Nationwide’s configuration
- Progress has a relationship with SAS; credibility critical to Nationwide
- DataDirect is backed by a responsive support organization, turning out hot fixes in record time
Looking ahead, Matthews is confident in the scalability of DataDirect as he is now planning for another significant increase in capacity.
“Between processing power, RAM and CPUs, we are looking to add another 50% to our overall computing capacity in the next year,” he says. “SAS 9.4 with its grid architecture and the scalability of Progress DataDirect are critical to allowing us to accommodate future growth.”