SABC database monitoring by RDB Consulting

RDB Consulting, an ICT outsource and consulting company, has been selected to provide the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) with ongoing database monitoring and support for its Oracle and SQL server databases and IBM mainframe. Bringing on specialist support will facilitate the SABC’s expansion into new application areas and provide the high levels of database predictability and reliability needed to efficiently and effectively deliver its radio and television broadcast offerings.

The SABC is South Africa’s only public broadcaster, providing 18 radio stations as well as three television channels to the general public. Its public service division fulfils a public mandate, providing broadcasting services according to regulatory guidelines; while its commercial service division ensures commercial sustainability of the broadcaster.

Explains Potlaki Maine, General Manager IT/CIO at the SABC: “The SABC provides its broadcast services to the public 24x7x365, and is frequently the chosen media host for major events, such as the 2009 African Cup of Nations and now the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Database predictability is thus paramount to the organisation.

“In addition, our database requirements are increasing as the SABC focuses its attention on new areas of growth, most significantly in the new media space, but also on the implementation of ERP and bespoke applications. New channel opportunities arising from the impending digital migration will further contribute to an increased need for database support.”

The SABC previously employed full-time database administrators to cover the spectrum of our database needs. “However,” says Potlaki, “these employees are difficult to retain and, as we are experiencing an increase in our support requirements with our expansion into new media, it became imperative that we had the right expertise on board – all the time.

“RDB Consulting is a great fit for us as it can mobilise expertise quickly to cover our whole range of database monitoring and support needs. It provides a pool of specialist resources to the SABC at a considerably lower cost than employing full-time staff. In addition, we also now benefit from exposure to new protocols and the best practices introduced by RDB Consulting.”

The contract, which was signed in September 2009, sees RDB Consulting providing database monitoring and support for all SABC databases. These include Oracle and SQL server databases and an IBM mainframe.

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) has been signed between RDB Consulting and the Broadcasting IT (BIT) department at the SABC, articulating in precise terms the obligations of both parties. Notes Maine, “SLAs assist in making it easier to manage the relationship in a commercially-sound manner. In fact, the BIT department at the SABC has SLAs in place with other departments within the SABC – this is necessary due to the huge extent to which our reliability impacts on their delivery. In order to ensure our department meets its obligations it is vital that we have a SLA in place with our partners.”

Says Jaroslav Cerny, CEO of RDB Consulting: “Our relationship with the SABC means that the BIT department now has peace-of-mind that its database requirements are being handled by experts. Our proactive approach to monitoring means that we pick up issues before they become problems, thus ensuring maximum uptime.”

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SABC database monitoring by RDB Consulting