Published on 25-Mar-2011
Validated on 05 Sep 2012
"Upgrading to DS8700 has allowed us to meet our current business challenge of improving response times. According to our estimates, response times have been reduced by approximately 10 percent since the new system’s implementation." - Massimo Borellini, IT Infrastructure Manager, BPER Services
Banca popolare dell'Emilia Romagna
IT/infrastructure, Business Resiliency, Enabling Business Flexibility, Infrastructure Simplification, Optimizing IT, Optimizing IT
Banca popolare dell'Emilia Romagna is the group leader of the BPER Group, a federal organization which comprises nine territorial banks, with approximately 1,300 branches across Italy. It is the third largest cooperative bank in Italy and the sixth largest banking group in terms of branches. As with all Italian cooperative banks, voting rights are limited to one vote per shareholder. Through subsidiary companies and joint ventures, BPER is active in all principal market segments: corporate and investment banking, wealth management and insurance, leasing, factoring and consumer credit.
The Banca popolare dell’Emilia Romagna (BPER) wanted to improve response times. BPER decided to reconsider its hardware infrastructure, looking for a cost-effective solution which would enable increased speed, resilience and scalability.
To increase total storage capacity and reduce operational expenses, BPER opted to upgrade from IBM® System Storage® DS8300 to DS8700, capitalizing on the system’s efficient storage management across three DS8700 disk systems with 146 and 300 GB disks.
Upgrading to DS8700 reduced response times by 10 percent allowing online banking customers to access their accounts more quickly. BPER reduced maintenance costs by receiving increased storage capacity without any increase in lease contract rates.
Banca popolare dell'Emilia Romagna is the group leader of the BPER Group, a federal organization which comprises nine territorial banks, with approximately 1,300 branches across Italy. It is the third largest cooperative bank in Italy and the sixth largest banking group in terms of branches. As with all Italian cooperative banks, voting rights are limited to one vote per shareholder. Through subsidiary companies and joint ventures, BPER is active in all principal market segments: corporate and investment banking, wealth management and insurance, leasing, factoring and consumer credit. The bank also offers assistance to its clients in international markets thanks to its extensive presence in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.
Reconsidering hardware infrastructure
With the expiry of the lease contract for its IBM Storage System DS8300 less than one year away, the Banca popolare dell'Emilia Romagna Services’ IT department (now managed by the BPER Services cooperative society) decided to reconsider its hardware infrastructure.
BPER wanted to ensure the continued delivery of reliable and efficient IT services such as current accounts, customer details, online banking and financial area information to the BPER group and its customers. Furthermore, BPER wished to ensure that its IT systems provided the necessary scope for the company’s predicted future growth.
“The demand on our storage systems will only increase in future years,” said Massimo Borellini, IT Infrastructure Manager, BPER Services. “For example, we will need to enable faster response times for the growing number of our customers who use online banking. For this reason, we required a disk system with a one millisecond response time.”
“Looking ahead, our future challenge will be to provide an ever-increasing amount of storage space while consuming less and less energy,” said Borellini. “We’ve recognized the tendency for storage environments to become increasingly complex and interdependent and we wanted to seize the opportunity to simplify our storage landscape before it became difficult to manage.”
Borellini continues, “The system we were looking for needed to effectively manage an IT environment which was much more complex than the previous one, but still have a comparable cost.”
Selecting a new storage solution
After considering a number of different vendors, BPER opted to upgrade from IBM System Storage DS8300 to a new DS8700 disk system.
“We continued to use IBM System Storage, partly for the sake of continuity but largely due to the extremely high level of support which we have received from IBM for our existing storage system,” said Borellini. “We already enjoy a long and profitable relationship with IBM, and feel that the IBM storage systems offer some of the best value for money on the market.”
BPER chose to upgrade to the IBM DS8700 solution. “We opted for the DS8700 solution because it meets our needs regarding speed, resilience and scalability,” said Borellini. “The solution provides us with the one millisecond response time we require.”
The DS8700 uses advanced caching technology to boost performance, while also offering superior disaster recovery capabilities. With better management of the data on the three DS8700 disk systems, less data needs to be moved and this translates into improved data recovery speeds.
Seamless migration process
BPER activated five cascading copy sessions to migrate from DS8300 to three DS8700 disk systems with 300 GB disks. This allowed the bank to populate the new systems without any impact on performance. Once the new disks had been populated, applications were closed and restarted using the DS8700. “We were initially concerned that migrating data from the old to the new disks would be a difficult process which could potentially have an impact on our productivity,” said Borellini. “In the end, however, the implementation ran very smoothly with no disruption to our business. In fact, the upgrade went so seamlessly that our users were not even aware of it.”
“As expected, we were very happy with the customer support we received from IBM,” said Borellini. “The level of help offered by the IBM technicians and the quality of their technical knowledge is high.”
The advantages of DS8700
“Upgrading to DS8700 has allowed us to meet our current business challenge of improving response times,” said Borellini. “According to our estimates, response times have been reduced by approximately 10 percent since the new system’s implementation. This will be most apparent with online banking, where customers will be able to access their online bank accounts more quickly.”
BPER was particularly impressed at the financial benefits of upgrading to the DS8700 system. “In terms of expenditure, our leasing contract has remained the same as it was with the previous solution,” said Borellini. “We now have the increased capabilities of the DS8700 storage system at the same price as before, effectively reducing our maintenance costs per gigabyte.”
The highly scalable nature of DS8700 ensures that BPER will be able to prepare for the predicted increase in the demand for storage in the coming years. The expandability of the solution means that additional storage disks can be added if and when necessary, without the need to purchase extra hardware.
“Our experience with IBM has been entirely positive. We’ve found IBM hardware to be reliable, solid and well maintained by IBM technicians. As a bank, ensuring maximum data security is of the utmost business importance, and we have a great deal of faith in the dependability of the new solution. IBM System Storage DS8700 has given us the peace of mind and confidence that we will achieve our future goals,” concludes Borellini.
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
Storage, Storage: DS8700
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