Solution: Microsoft SQL Server performance tuning & support

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Zopa: Microsoft SQL Server Performance Tuning & Support

Since 2005 Zopa has experienced phenomenal growth and has grown its business to more than 63,000 lenders and 150,000 borrowers. The Microsoft SQL Server Database was seen as an area to be looked at in order to manage this growth, with a possible upgrade to Enterprise Edition licensing.

The Challenge

Zopa has a talented team of developers and technicians who have managed their phenomenal growth since 2005 through innovative development and focused deployment of technology.  Incremental performance improvements were becoming more expensive to achieve through traditional infrastructure improvements but providing less impact each time. 
An internal review was set up to evaluate options to enhance performance short term and to support further growth.  The Microsoft SQL Server Database was seen as an area to be looked at in detail, including an upgrade to Enterprise Edition licensing. Zopa approached its trusted IT services partner
Highlander Computing Solutions (HCS) for a proposal for licences.

“We wanted to implement a long-term solution to strengthen our platform’s performance which would enable Zopa to deliver against an aggressive growth strategy,” said Jonathan Binns, Head of Infrastructure at Zopa.

The Solution

Zopa appointed HCS partner DSP-Explorer as its database performance and support partner in April 2015, based on DSP-Explorer's extensive technical expertise, flexible commercial approach and strong relationship with HCS.  DSP-Explorer performed an initial performance study on a fixed price, flexible delivery approach. This approach made use of a flexible resource model, which ensured that Zopa was not paying for resources to watch screens through periods of benchmarking.
This enabled an exceptionally cost-effective model. The environmental knowledge gained through the performance review provided a fast take on of the support service. DSP-Explorer was appointed to provide services for three key tasks:
Performance Review. Analyse the existing system and process and come up with an improvement plan.
Execute Performance Plan. Deliver the services to implement the plan.

On-going support. Maintain the availability and performance of the systems, in line with the long term growth strategy. 

Jonathan was especially impressed with how smoothly DSP-Explorer were about to fix Zopa's issues: “We live and breathe this every day but it was really impressive how quickly DSP-Explorer got on board with our systems and processes in order to start delivering results from the outset.”

The Result

The performance review was completed on time and on budget and identified 6 key areas to be optimised. The subsequent consultancy has already delivered a 25% performance boost to the daily load, freeing up more than three hours a day.

DSP-Explorer is now supporting the database on a continuous improvement plan leaving Zopa to continue to concentrate on development and innovation. “We are a fast-paced, innovative organisation and we expect partners to share our culture and values. We value the relationship we have with Highlander and are delighted to extend this to DSP-Explorer” says Jonathan.
Zopa is also looking to HCS and DSP-Explorer to support other data management initiatives around the organisation including a strategic Data Modelling and Business Intelligence programme.


UK’s largest peer-to-peer lending service, Zopa, has lent over £1.4 billion since 2005. Voted “Most Trusted Loan Provider” for 6 years in a row, Zopa peer-to-peer lending works by bringing together individuals who have money to lend and individuals who wish to borrow money.
Loan Providers


Performance Review
Deliver the services to implement the performance plan.
Provide on-going support

"It was really impressive how quickly DSP-Explorer got on board with our systems and processes in order to start delivering results from the outset."

Head of Infrastructure | Zopa



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