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Domino’s Pizza UK keeps orders flowing with SQL Server monitoring

Domino’s Pizza UK keeps orders flowing with SQL Server monitoring
To find database issues before they impact customer orders at over 1,200 stores in the UK and Ireland, Domino’s Pizza UK relies on Quest® Spotlight® Cloud.
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    UK and Republic of Ireland
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Domino’s Pizza UK sells over 106 million pizzas a year to their customers around the UK and Republic of Ireland. Originally, they struggled to monitor their SQL Servers by reviewing metrics for each server separately with a tool they developed internally and needed to maintain themselves.
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A key differentiator of Spotlight Cloud is being able to examine a year’s worth of high-resolution data, that is a real selling point.

Jason Stapley Data Services Team Lead (DBA)


A few years ago, the data services team realized that they needed something better. They started using Quest Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise on-premises to better monitor their databases and servers and recently switched to Spotlight Cloud for even more capabilities including being able to examine a full year of historical data.


  • Enables the team to examine data from any point in time or time range in the past year
  • Identifies the root causes of performance issues before they affect the business
  • Allows easy, secure access to third-party consultants
  • Shows when to run jobs to avoid periods of peak usage
  • Shifts costs from capital expenditures (CapEx) to operating expenditures (OpEx)

The Story

About Domino’s Pizza UK and their SQL Server environment

With over 35,000 employees in over 1,200 stores selling over 106 million pizzas every year, Domino’s Pizza UK is the UK’s leading pizza brand and a major player in the Republic of Ireland. Domino’s Pizza UK is part of the global Domino’s system; the biggest pizza delivery operator in the world.

Domino’s Pizza UK is primarily a SQL Server shop with over 10 instances of SQL Server deployed. They also have MySQL and a couple of other database platforms deployed for various uses.

A segmented, bespoke approach to monitoring business-critical systems

SQL databases are utilized by the company to take customer orders and for various other functions, including finance and reporting. Although the database systems are typically very reliable, any issues that may arise must be resolved quickly to prevent disruptions to customer orders and operations.

Previously, database metrics were stored and examined in separate servers by a tool developed in-house. When making any changes or updates to a particular system version, the company had to update all the servers. Additionally, depending on the version of SQL being used, there were nuances that needed to be accounted for in the coding process, requiring the company to utilize pre-existing solutions where applicable.

The evolution of SQL monitoring approaches

The data services group started looking for a replacement for their internally developed tool a few years ago. After evaluating the tools on the market at that time, they selected Quest Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise to enhance their database and server monitoring.

An on-premises tool, Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise enabled them to examine the metrics for all their instances of SQL in a single console in addition to providing them with other new capabilities for enhancing how they monitored SQL. While having Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise provided the team with a wealth of benefits, their budget limited the amount of historical data the team could reasonably store in-house.

Jason Stapley, Data Services Team Lead (DBA) for Domino’s Pizza UK, stated “if we were to store one year's worth of high-resolution data in the on-premises version of Spotlight, we would be looking at a very big server. We would have been getting into production-level data sizes just to run the monitoring application.”

Powering performance monitoring and diagnostics from the cloud

Last year, the data services team decided to switch to the additional capabilities of Spotlight Cloud, and especially for its ability to store a full year’s worth of historical data in the cloud without overflowing their budget.

Spotlight Cloud is a SaaS solution that can be set up in minutes and offers enterprise-level diagnostics. Since it is hosted in the cloud, it means there’s no performance repository to manage, it has a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and requires minimal maintenance.

Resolving SQL Server data collection

The data services team no longer needs to maintain on-premises equipment to host a SQL monitoring application. Stapley explains that “Spotlight Cloud handles all the data collection mess for us. And all we do is just look at the nice clean data at the end of it, and the pretty dashboards, and find out where the problems are. We don't have to worry about the version of SQL.”

Locating and fixing pain points in the SQL Server environment

The team uses Spotlight Cloud daily. If there is a database or application that is running slowly, they use Spotlight Cloud to help identify the root causes and provide a starting point for resolving the issue.

According to Stapley, “one of the biggest benefits of Spotlight Cloud is that one pane of glass view where you can just show me where to find the problem.” He added, “a key differentiator of Spotlight Cloud is being able to examine a year’s worth of high-resolution data, that is a real selling point.”

Accelerating the backup of SQL databases

Domino’s Pizza UK also uses Quest LiteSpeed® for SQL Server for high-speed backup and restores of their SQL Server databases. LiteSpeed is a fast, flexible SQL Server backup and recovery solution that reduces backup footprints by up to 85%.

Stapley expounds on the benefits of LiteSpeed and says, “LiteSpeed backs up and restores databases much faster than the native SQL Server backup function, which is brilliant! And the compression is fantastic. The later versions of SQL are closing the gap, but they're still nowhere near as good as LiteSpeed.”

In addition to the advanced deduplication and compression capabilities of LiteSpeed that save space and costs, it also includes encryption technology for protecting data from cyber-attacks. Stapley said, “The encryption features are also extremely useful. I think one of the biggest benefits is for insurance purposes. If there is a cyber-attack, if something were to slip through the net, our backups are encrypted.”

The quantifiable value produced by Spotlight Cloud

Spotlight Cloud is definitely making an impact at Domino’s Pizza UK helping the data services team to monitor, diagnose and resolve issues in their SQL Server environment.

Reducing costs

Moving to Spotlight Cloud has enabled Domino’s Pizza UK to shift some of their costs from capital expenditures (CapEx) to operating expenditures (OpEx). In addition, they are saving a significant amount of budget by avoiding the equipment and maintenance costs to host a year’s worth of high-resolution historical data in-house.

Enabling the analysis of a year’s worth of in-depth historical data

Before moving to Spotlight Cloud, the data services team stored a month’s worth high-level data but only a couple of days of in-depth data to avoid exponentially running up equipment and maintenance costs. They now can access a full year of in-depth data.

Identifying performance issues before they impact the business

Spotlight Cloud makes it easy for the data services team to see how users, databases, hosts, or even SQL statements affect their workloads. This enables them to fix problems before they cause an outage, not after.

Allowing easy access to third-party consultants

When Domino’s Pizza UK used Spotlight on-premises, they had to jump over a series of hurdles to give third-party consultants access to their historical data. Now, with Spotlight Cloud, they simply enter the consultants email address and send them an email to give them access quickly and easily.