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How do you ensure a critical business application designed and built in the 1990s continues to meet business and compliance requirements today, in 2030, and beyond?

In 2012, Nightstar Partners won an RFP to redesign the front end (i.e., user interface or UI) of a national non-profit’s 20+-year-old custom internal information system (built using Microsoft’s ASP.NET and back-end SQL Server) from a desktop-based application to a web-based application. Once the front end was updated, we could add new features and functionalities to the main application and develop separate web applications – automating tasks and significantly improving the organization’s workflows and productivity – without changing the core database.

As demand and applications grew, it put more stress on the core database, which has not had a significant overhaul since it was deployed. In 2014 we recommended a complete database redesign to eliminate data redundancy and a growing source of errors, system bugs, and performance issues. Budget constraints prevented the project from moving forward. We continued to maintain and triage the existing database as needed.

Fast forward to 2023 … the database has grown to over 50GB with thousands of application-level tables and stored procedures. This report-intensive system’s small number of views indicates one acute area of performance issues.

We are now embarking on a complete redesign and upgrade of the database, including using the latest version of SQL Server and Windows Operating System (OS), to meet the client’s following objectives:

  • Eliminate data redundancy.
  • Maximize performance, i.e., speed.
  • Increase maintainability and extensibility for the next 10-20 years.

Like any project of this magnitude, it will be completed in two sequential phases – Design and Implementation. Key elements of the Design Phase include a thorough review of all business workflows, table normalization and indexing, view creation, and stored procedure fine-tuning and optimization.

The deliverable of the Design Phase is a document that will have the overall database design schema and detailed instructions to carry out the Implementation Phase, which involves coding and documentation, transferring data from the old database to the new database using an automated ETL process (extract, transform and load), testing and deployment.

This is a significant undertaking and strategic investment by the client to future-proof their internal information system for the next 10-20 years. We continue to enjoy this long-term relationship and appreciate the client’s trust in us.

We have extensive experience working with small and mid-size businesses and non-profit organizations in developing and supporting information data management systems. A key factor to our success is our ability to work closely with clients in solving challenging technical issues in diverse applications and environments.

If you have a critical business application needing updates, please contact me at, and I will be happy to discuss options with you.

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