In the weeks leading up to the Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, Texas, on July 7-11, 2013, we’re profiling finalists for Microsoft’s partner of the year award for Software Asset Management (SAM). Mexico’s Server earned special recognition for its work spreading the word about the benefits of SQL clustering.

When one of Mexico’s biggest large account reseller (LAR), Servicios Especializados en Recursos Informaticos, SA de CV (Server), wants to help its biggest clients ratchet up their ROI, they ask a not-so-obvious question. In addition to the traditional starting point for Software Asset Management (SAM), “Are you using your licenses effectively?” Server asks clients, “Are you using your servers effectively?”

“Most of our clients do not yet use SQL clustering,” says Manual Velazquez, General Manager of Server, “even those companies that are using SQL Server as their repository for their critical information.” Clustering refers to a group of two or more servers that work together as a single virtual server, for seamless redundancy in the case of a failure. It’s a security advantage, because data is housed in a single location rather than on multiple, far-flung servers.

“We see security from a different perspective with this kind of solution,” says Velazquez. “Here, you can have one single cluster installation which you can keep better protected and better served with power. And you can back up and keep all your information concentrated in one place, and avoid having information in different places around the company.”

SQL clustering is also a boon to efficiency; because server use is optimized, data can be centrally managed on fewer installations, reducing the number of licenses required. It’s not yet a common practice in Mexico,
Velazquez says, “but we have proposed this solution to all of our customers who are using SQL technology, and we are creating awareness of the increased ROI. It can help them be ready to grow faster, to respond to changing business needs and reap the economic benefits of using SQL clustering instead of multiple installations.”

Server’s customer service goes beyond the usual SAM assessment; an initial consultation will include recommendations not only for optimizing license usage, but also for improving overall IT infrastructure and implementing new technologies such as the cloud and virtualization. “We want to make the customer aware of not only where they stand with licenses, but where they are with IT security and infrastructure,” says Velazquez.

“In emerging economies, such as Mexico’s, as IT becomes more complex and increasingly important to Mexico’s growth, Server is enabling clients to maximize their technology investments through SAM,” says Dinis Couto, General Manager of Software Asset Management at Microsoft. “Coaching customers on SQL clustering is a unique approach to SAM in any market; this innovation makes Server an important Microsoft partner.”

Mexico City-based Server covers a wide geography, taking SAM to smaller companies in outlying areas through a specially developed program. “Outside the big cities, there are a lot of mid-range customers who need service,” says Velazquez. “We can’t work the same way we work with the bigger customers here in Mexico, so we have developed a different way to work with them.” To the extent possible, Server performs much of the SAM service remotely. “We set up all the environment in advance, and then we send people that work a few days on site, doing assessments on infrastructure, gathering information and then coming back to do all the processing in our office. We try to optimize and be very efficient with customers that are outside our immediate area.”