Retirement planning company moves to the cloud with help from Pythian

Company Overview

Our client is large American online retirement planning company whose services include managed IRAs, 401 (k) advice and management, and retirement income planning. The client is the first company of its kind to use the internet for retirement planning, providing advice and management to 1.5 million people for almost 20 years. Headquartered in San Diego, the client has over $14 million USD of assets under management and 35,000 account management plans.

Business Challenge

Business Needs

For close to 10 years Pythian has been a strategic partner to the client, providing Oracle DBA support for their on-premises servers. Throughout this time, Pythian has managed backups, installed patches, and handled performance tuning and maintenance. Recently, this client was considering switching from Oracle to another RDBMS to reduce licensing costs—which were hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Pythian suggested changing the RDBMS to Microsoft SQL Server and migrating to Microsoft Azure to eliminate ongoing operational support and maintenance of hardware in their data center.
Read MoreLess


The conversation resulted in Pythian providing cloud consulting and migration advice as well as managed services—an end-to-end engagement as a trusted partner. The first step in the process was cloud strategy. With unrivaled experience in migration planning and execution, Pythian had already moved numerous other companies from Oracle to SQL Server. As a partner to all the major cloud vendors, but not a reseller, they could provide vendor-agnostic advice to meet the business objectives of the company Pythian performed a feasibility study on migrating from Oracle to SQL Server. They analyzed all of the data types, store procedures and the schema on the company’s Oracle database, then verified that the data itself and the application were ideally suited to SQL Server. Pythian recommended a migration to a SQL Server environment and provided a proposal for implementing the migration. Next came the migration itself using Pythian Cloud Migration Services. This involved converting one of their clients from Oracle to SQL Server and hosting the infrastructure in Microsoft Azure. This was a proof-of-concept (PoC) project; all other clients remained on Oracle and the on-premises servers. The new SQL Server/Azure environment is currently live. Because the client now needed to manage two environments simultaneously, they also required managed services. Pythian is responsible for supporting all of the clients’ needs with site reliability engineering and monitoring for the six-month PoC testing period.
Read MoreLess


Pythian technology know-how and experience determined that a move from Oracle on premises to SQL Server on Microsoft Azure was feasible. Then, Pythian architects and data engineers built the required infrastructure and new environment, and implemented the migration. Now, Pythian is supporting the PoC migration with managed services. As explained by the data architect and solutions engineer on the project, Richard Weiss, “Our work here is a great example of the end-to-end service Pythian provides, from consulting to implementation and ongoing maintenance. It’s also an example of a long-standing partnership where Pythian’s involvement has changed and developed in response to changing client needs.” The PoC testing period will end in late 2018. Based on the results, the company will decide whether to move all of their infrastructure to SQL Server and Azure soon afterwards. Early indicators are good, and they are eagerly awaiting the ROI metrics that will prove the move to the cloud.
Read MoreLess

Explore Pythian’s popular services:


  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft Azure

Looking to learn more about Cloud Migrations?