Italian ERP leader reduces costs and effort in the cloud with Microsoft SQL Server on Linux-based Azure virtual machines

As one of Europe’s leading providers of enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, TeamSystem helps millions of users connect to the people and information they need to do their jobs. With a new generation of cloud-savvy customers to serve—and costs to keep down—TeamSystem shifted the database environment of its core ERP platform to Microsoft Azure. By using Microsoft SQL Server 2017 on Linux-based Azure virtual machines, TeamSystem has reduced costs and increased agility and deployment speeds—all while optimizing database performance.

The right connections

The most successful enterprises have one thing in common: they connect their people. They connect them to each other, to their customers, and to the information that contains vital insights for optimizing processes, transforming business models, and fueling growth.

TeamSystem is an Italian leader in digital enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions and services, and it’s on a mission to help the millions of users of its platforms connect to the people and information they need to drive their businesses forward. From accountants and business consultants to lawyers and senior executives, TeamSystem helps people forge the connections that help their enterprises to compete. And it’s always looking for new ways to give itself—and its customers—a sharper competitive edge.

The company knew that moving to the cloud would present an opportunity to make its core ERP software, TeamSystem Enterprise, easier to monitor, update, and scale while reducing its operational costs. TeamSystem is now realizing that opportunity with Microsoft Azure.

“We’re firm believers that cloud transformation is the best way to help our customers become more competitive,” says Matteo Lazzari, Product Owner and CloudOps ERP Product Team Lead at TeamSystem. “We moved our flagship ERP solution’s database layer to Azure to take advantage of automated provisioning, centralized management, and to help reduce costs for us and our customers.”

The best performance at the best cost

Microsoft SQL Server has been an important part of TeamSystem’s on-premises technology stack for more than 20 years, so running the database layer of TeamSystem Enterprise Cloud with SQL Server 2017 on Azure Virtual Machines was a natural evolution for the company.

TeamSystem uses Linux-based Azure Ev3 virtual machines (VMs) to deliver high performance while minimizing costs. “We have a very heterogeneous technology stack, and the flexibility of Azure to run open-source operating systems is vital for us,” says Marco Montesi, a CloudOps Software Engineer at TeamSystem. “Installing SQL Server 2017 on the Ubuntu Linux distribution allows us to achieve our cost reduction goals faster and also achieve the performance levels our customers need.”

To save time and effort, TeamSystem used Azure Marketplace images for SQL Server 2017 on Linux. “It’s really useful to have a prebuilt Azure Marketplace image,” says Montesi. “We know we can trust them to work effectively, so we base our work on these images and make a few performance tweaks rather than spending a lot of time building a custom image from scratch.”

To help its cloud platform deliver better performance at a lower cost and to handle a higher number of users, TeamSystem moved its Linux dynamic libraries to Azure Ultra Disk Storage. “Using the Azure Ultra Disk Storage managed disk service, we can provide higher performance for more customers at the same time, which helps us meet our operational cost reduction targets,” says Montesi. “SSD disks are a must for our solution.”

Greater agility and control

By running the TeamSystem Enterprise Cloud database environment on Linux-based Azure VMs, the company reduces its overall costs, but it also uses the Azure cloud platform to accelerate the development and deployment of updates, fixes, and new high-value services. And it’s not just its business that sees the agility benefits—the company’s customers can now set up TeamSystem Enterprise Cloud in minutes without having to worry about hardware requirements or software provisioning.

“Setup time is very fast, and because it’s in the cloud, our customers don’t have to think about sizing their environment,” says Lazzari. “They just select how many users they want, and in less than 30 minutes, they have a correctly sized, fully configured environment ready to go.” With its on-premises solution, it could take as much as three hours to install and configure a server and the associated tools manually.

Importantly for TeamSystem’s IT department, moving to the cloud has given it new levels of control. Working with the Azure command-line interface means users can get started with creating and managing Azure resources faster. And once users are up and running, SQL Server Management Studio brings all the server tools into one easy-to-access dashboard, while Azure Monitor provides an unprecedented level of insight into the overall health of the company’s infrastructure.

“By using SQL Server on Azure, we have direct control over everything,” says Lazzari. “We can monitor and manage every aspect of our database environment, which allows us to continuously optimize its performance.”

Continued market leadership

By running SQL Server on Azure, TeamSystem now has more control over its platform with less effort and at a dramatically lower cost—all while optimizing database performance. “We’re catering to a new generation of customers who understand the benefits of the cloud,” says Lazzari. “With SQL Server on Azure, we can give customers all the functionality they expect from our software, but with the agility of a cloud solution. Now we plan to upgrade all our existing customers to TeamSystem Enterprise Cloud.”

Next up is a planned upgrade to SQL Server 2019. The company will use the added data processing and analysis capabilities in the latest version of SQL Server to deliver new functionality and services to its customers. TeamSystem is also investigating use cases for incorporating Azure Cognitive Services into its solutions, including speech recognition capabilities and Computer Vision services such as optical character recognition to help its customers extract insights from the documents they process on the platform.

Using Microsoft SQL Server 2017 on Azure, we’ve reduced the effort and cost of running our platform while increasing our agility and speed of deployment—and optimizing performance,” says Lazzari. “We’ve opened new opportunities to extend our ERP solution. And that will help us maintain our leadership position and make it simpler for our customers to connect people and information so that they can lead the way in their own markets.”

Find out more about TeamSystem on LinkedIn and YouTube, and learn more about TeamSystem Enterprise Cloud.