PLATFORMS: Server: Compaq ProLiant 6000 6/200 with four processors, 2GB RAM, 34GB disk space, running Windows NT 4.0 and the Microsoft IIS 3.0 Web server. Clients: Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.02 running on Windows95 client machines.
BACKGROUND: Sprint PCS, headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, is the nation's leading provider of digital wireless communications services.
PROBLEM SOLVED: With a rapidly expanding user base and increasing demands on our limited IT resources, we decided that we needed to move to the Web to remain competitive. Starting with 600 users in one group and planning to roll out to hundreds more, we needed a scalable, flexible solution that was easily extensible. We also needed to simplify our operations, both for our users and for our ability to support them. SpaceSQL achieved all these goals, moving our operations to a thin-client model in just 90 days. It also enabled us to consolidate and replace the functionality of four different query and reporting packages deployed across our organization.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: SpaceSQL 3.0 is a server based, thin-client solution for enterprise decision support over the Web. Written completely in Java, it offers both platform independent access to all major relational data sources and an easy-to-use, browser-based front end. For the IT department, it offers an integrated, centrally managed, easily deployable, secure solution for granting access to data to the entire enterprise; for the end user, it offers a full range of interactive query, reporting, charting and analysis capabilities in a familiar, point-and-click environment.
STRENGTHS: Above and beyond its unmatched Web-based functionality, such as Java based drill-down charts and dynamic parameterized reports, SpaceSQL's real strengths lie in its architecture. SpaceSQL was specifically designed for enterprise-wide, Web-based deployment and management. By using a multithreaded, all-Java server and 100 percent pure Java clients, Infospace has effectively translated the architectural benefits of traditional three-tier client/server to the Web. The resulting end-to-end Java environment enables client-to-server persistence, allowing SpaceSQL to scale to hundreds, if not thousands of concurrent users. A comprehensive user manager allows administrators to set up security protocols and establish different user groups to enable an enterprise-wide publish-and-subscribe model and even single sign-on access to multiple data sources. And because there is no client software to install, the ability to quickly and easily set up new users means we can deploy decision support capabilities to virtually any user within minutes.
WEAKNESSES: One weakness in the current version of SpaceSQL is its limited integration with Infospace's SpaceOLAP product.
SELECTION CRITERIA: SpaceSQL was selected for its ability to rapidly move us to a Web-based operating environment, effectively consolidate our decision support needs and standardize our user interface across multiple departments and initiatives. Infospace was also the only vendor who could deliver the functionality we needed, as well as provide access to multidimensional, or OLAP, data sources through a similar Web interface.
DELIVERABLES: SpaceSQL provides 600 users with access to reports and charts dynamically generated from Sprint PCS's data warehouse. Specific reports are organized in folders, based on a user's profile, and presented in a familiar, browser-based interface. IT operations have been streamlined to the point that it takes only a few minutes to fully deploy a new user in the system.
VENDOR SUPPORT: In addition to its telephone and Web-based product support, Infospace has an excellent professional services organization.
DOCUMENTATION: Thorough on-line documentation is available to all end users, and hard copy manuals are available for the administrative and designer modules of the product.
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