Tackling growth and frustration with database automation

Blue Light Card needed to efficiently manage a replicated MySQL setup – which had been held together with custom scripts and a prayer. ClusterControl’s database ops automation features made managing the complexity considerably easier.

Blue Light Card
Industry Advertising
Technologies MySQL
Hosting On-prem
Datacenters 1
Products ClusterControl


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Any system that has users accessing it around the clock can’t afford much downtime. The team at  Blue Light Card had been managing a complex setup for a long time…and it was growing more complex by the day.

“Our system consisted of a whole host of custom-written scripts that were either manually run as the result of an ‘if this then that’ flow chart or were cron jobs just to keep our MySQL infrastructure online; especially under high load,” said David Hinchliffe, Head of IT at Blue Light Card, “We required 24/7/365 uptime and high-speed data access; all in real-time, so things like batching jobs just couldn’t be done.”

The systems and applications which empowered Blue Light Card stored massive amounts of data and the team found themselves in a growth period where data growth,  infrastructure costs, time demands, and more all seemed to be getting larger.

Our solution was always complex…master/slave setups and sql proxies, the skill level needed to manage those systems is incredibly high.

David Hinchliffe, Head of IT at Blue Light Card

The database powering their infrastructure was a clustered MySQL setup. “We needed a way for any IT literate members of our staff could easily keep an eye on the setup and monitor it.”

The infrastructure was also prone to several single points of failure, both from a technology perspective as well as from a personnel one.  The team only had a single database expert to manage this setup, which was growing more complex by the day. The cost in both man-hours and the skill set needed was too high.


Hinchliffe needed three key things to solve his team’s challenges.  

1. A solution that would allow them to reduce the number of custom scripts which in turn would remove many single points of failure.

2. A solution that makes cluster recovery and repair easy, and if possible, automated.

3. A solution that would allow all the members of his team to be able to help with the management and monitoring.

While searching for some technical information, he came across ClusterControl. He was impressed with the number of features it offered and by the simplicity of the interface.

I tried a demo of ClusterControl and was blown away by everything it did, so I never really look at any other vendors.

David Hinchliffe, Head of IT at Blue Light Card


From the time that Hinchliffe began evaluating to having the fully deployed solution took under a month. His entire team now has access and is assisting in the monitoring and administration of the database stack. This has also reduced the burden of his subject matter expert, preventing potential burnout.

The increased analysis and reporting has been a real eye opener. It’s allowed me to identify problems we never knew we had and resolve them.

David Hinchliffe, Head of IT at Blue Light Card

“If you’re looking at running multiple replicated database servers across many different physical machines, with many databases of great size, then ClusterControl makes managing that real estate considerably easier and less resource-intensive,” said Hinchliffe.



Driving efficiency and reducing workload

From monitoring and alerts to simple maintenance tasks like restarting nodes, to
automatic failover, ClusterControl offered Blue Light Card an array of functions to reduce their workload and drive efficiency in their database setup.


Demonstrated value through operational improvements

With all the automation and features, Blue Light Card also had the underlying ability to perform analysis and report on its findings. This allows the team to show their improvements and demonstrate the value that ClusterControl brings. “The increased analysis and reporting has been a real eye-opener, it’s allowed me to identify problems we never knew we had and resolve them,” said Hinchliffe.


Peace of mind with automated backups

ClusterControl’s automated backup features the ability to test the backups it takes to ensure that when disaster strikes, the backups are “known good”.

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