Page Two

By Brian Fonseca  |  Posted 2004-05-31 Print this article Print

The use of the Web has exploded in the casino realm. Gaming companies are driving customers to their Web sites to perform a multitude of tasks: making online reservations, purchasing tickets for entertainment and tracking points earned at slot machines and tables in real time.

By using SQL Server as its primary database, said Forelli, the Borgata was able to circumvent interface woes with its Windows infrastructure and avoid training headaches and extra cost.

"One of the themes on the DB2 side and, to a degree, on the Oracle [Corp. database] side, its a lot less friendly to use," said Forelli. "Wed have to [hire more database administrators] in a lot of places where we put applications on top of [DB2, and] we dont do back-end developing on the DB2 database."

Through the Reporting Services capability in SQL Server, which allowed the Borgata to view the database as a data warehousing alternative, the casino was able to overcome a significant reporting blind spot within its heavily transaction-oriented system.

In addition, a BI project uses SQL Servers DTS (Data Transformation Services) tool to create an OLAP (online analytical processing) database to reach out to disparate systems that contain transactional information about customer spending on lodging, food, beverages and gambling. It then presents historical analysis, forecasting and trending reports.

The Borgata is running DB2 applications at the front desk and the gaming pit to keep track of customers credit totals and hotel account. By having the flexibility to accurately forecast hotel occupancy and customer visits, the Borgata can properly plan staffing, drum up food specials and casino events, and correlate demographic factors.

Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., is investing heavily to ensure BI is enhanced in "Yukon," its version of SQL Server due early next year. The update will feature more data mining algorithms and a rewrite of DTS to integrate it into the Visual Studio shell, Microsoft officials said.

Before opening last summer, the Borgata used SQL Server-stored procedures and triggers to stretch its enterprise and human resources applications from PeopleSoft Inc., of Pleasanton, Calif.

The Web site and portal accepted more than 40,000 applications and enabled selected applicants to book interview times. SQL Server made the employment applicant evaluation, offer and acceptance process a completely paperless operation, Forrelli said.

"It helped us hire the best 5,000 people. From a concurrent user perspective, we proved the worth of our choice of applications and database" early on, Forelli said.

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Brian Fonseca is a senior writer at eWEEK who covers database, data management and storage management software, as well as storage hardware. He works out of eWEEK's Woburn, Mass., office. Prior to joining eWEEK, Brian spent four years at InfoWorld as the publication's security reporter. He also covered services, and systems management. Before becoming an IT journalist, Brian worked as a beat reporter for The Herald News in Fall River, Mass., and cut his teeth in the news business as a sports and news producer for Channel 12-WPRI/Fox 64-WNAC in Providence, RI. Brian holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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