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Balloons Everywhere scales up to Pervasive.SQL V8
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BALLOONS EVERYWHERE
The decision to actually do the upgrade was easy. But when Balloons Everywhere, America’s leading wholesale distributor of the world’s best foil and latex balloons, decided that it was time to augment their in-house Visual DataFlex application with a more robust client/server backend, the choice of which DBMS to deploy took a bit more thought.

"We considered IBM’s DB2 and Microsoft’s SQL Server, but in the final analysis, Pervasive.SQL V8 was our choice for best overall performance and value," said the company’s CEO, Harry Palmer.

The custom Visual DataFlex application for the privately held company supports 30 users, or almost half of the 65-person company, so any downtime due to system problems would have a broad impact on the company’s operations in Fairhope, Alabama. The upgrade to Pervasive.SQL had to be completed in one weekend to achieve this. Palmer relied on the expertise of StarZen Technologies’ Mike Salzlechner to steer the project through completion.

"Harry needed to upgrade to a robust, Windows-based client/server architecture without disrupting his business, and Pervasive’s easy installation and low administration requirements, combined with significant cost savings, ultimately proved to be the best client/server solution to go with," says Salzlechner. "The upgrade from the DataFlex database was relatively smooth, and my past experience with Pervasive’s reliability and performance gave me the confidence that Harry’s operation would be well-served by deploying P.SQL V8.

Before the switch to P.SQL V8 the system architecture included a Novell server for the DataFlex database and for printing and faxing, a Windows 2000 server for the Web, and two BSD servers for e-mail. The new architecture consists of two Windows 2000 servers - one for the Pervasive database and for printing and faxing, and one for the Web site, and two BSD servers for e-mail.

"The main application supports inventory management, order entry, invoicing and general ledger," says Salzlechner. "We’ve also developed special components that include fully automated shipping integration with FedEx and UPS via the Internet, and a shopping cart implementation for the Web site. There’s work to be done all the time as necessary to support the business in the best possible way."

As is common in today’s IT business systems, there are several components that are integrated together to form the complete system.

"Visual DataFlex is used for the Web site shopping cart, as well as for additional site functionality," Salzlechner says. "However the user needs the possibility of full text searches through the inventory, which isn’t possible with VDF `find’ commands. Before we had used a custom DLL that would read the DataFlex database files directly to do full text searching. Now we use the ODBC Connectivity Kit and Embedded SQL to do the searches." (For an example, type "Minnie" into the search box on the Balloons.com site.)

Palmer’s pleased with the immediate ROI he’s received from upgrading to P.SQL V8. "It’s definitely more stable and significantly faster than our previous environment was, plus it allows us to use SQL queries for Web users, which expands our ability to better serve our global customer base."

Read more about Pervasive.SQL V8 for DataFlex.

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