EFiS EDI Finance Service AG boosts business flexibility and efficiency

Supporting mission-critical applications with IBM technology

Published on 05-Jul-2012

Validated on 20 Feb 2014

"In taking advantage of the IBM System z we are able to fulfil our clients’ expectations and our vision of quality of service." - Armin Gerhardt, CEO, EFiS EDI Finance Service AG

EFiS EDI Finance Service AG

Financial Markets

Deployment country:

Enabling Business Flexibility, Energy Efficiency, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server


EFiS EDI Finance Service AG (EFiS) is a member of the Paymentgroup, which comprises the software house ABK Systeme GmbH, ABK-EFiS (Schweiz) AG in Zurich and the EFiS Polska Sp. zo.o. The Paymentgroup currently employs 73 people and has revenues of €10 million, growing at approximately 10 percent annually.

Business need:
EFiS EDI Finance Service AG (EFiS) needs computing systems that are powerful and stable enough to support 24/7 availability, and technology that is flexible enough to support fluctuating capacity demands.

EFiS implemented an IBM System z® Solution Edition for Enterprise Linux based a new IBM zEnterprise® 114 server. It also uses IBM WebSphere® software to manage its application environment.

Doubled processing speeds by replacing obsolete and underperforming hardware with a new IBM System z infrastructure. Delivered more than 30 percent savings in energy consumption through hardware consolidation and improved resource utilisation. Improved processor utilization levels and reduced investment in costly software licence fees, delivering instant cost savings.

Case Study

EFiS EDI Finance Service AG (EFiS) is a member of the Paymentgroup, which comprises the software house ABK Systeme GmbH, ABK-EFiS (Schweiz) AG in Zurich and the EFiS Polska Sp. zo.o. The Paymentgroup currently employs 73 people and has revenues of €10 million, growing at approximately 10 percent annually.

EFiS is a Software as a Service (SaaS) application provider for financial institutions and corporations. The company offers an outsourced computing services model that allows its customers to conduct its transactions without hosting applications or any associated hardware in-house.

Ever increasing demands
As Europe grows more closely together, new challenges arise for financial institutions. Changing legal and regulatory conditions, such as the formation of a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), demand solutions that are flexible enough to react quickly and consistently to new developments.
EFiS offers SaaS solutions for a number of major financial companies, many of whom are leading German DAX30 businesses. For example, EFiS recently signed a contract to provide payment transaction software services for Haspa – Hamburger Sparkasse AG, the biggest savings bank in Germany. Clients such as these cannot afford to be held back by slow transaction processing or unexpected downtime, which makes it vital for EFiS to ensure that its systems operate as reliably and efficiently as possible.

Additionally, EFiS processes large volumes of transactions for its clients each day, and capacity demands can fluctuate extensively. Most financial transactions come in high volume bursts, in the morning and evening, and at various fiscal deadlines. In order to support these variations in capacity and growing data volumes, EFiS requires powerful computing systems that offer the highest levels of availability, throughput and reliability.

Migrating to IBM Enterprise Linux Server
EFiS has long trusted IBM systems to deliver industry-leading performance and security for its business-critical applications. The company is constantly seeking to optimise its Linux-based environment while minimizing operational risks and costs.

In 2008, this strategy led the company to replace approximately 200 x86-architecture servers, including a number of Sun Solaris systems, that were not fully meeting its performance or scalability requirements. EFiS migrated key applications from its existing servers to an IBM System z Solution Edition for Enterprise Linux based on a single IBM System z9® Business Class server running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z.

Following the success of this project, EFiS saw an opportunity to improve its service levels even further by installing a new IBM Enterprise Linux Server – the IBM System z10® Business Class (z10 BC) system – as its backup and recovery platform. The IBM System z10 BC server uses Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processors to provide a highly cost-effective virtualized environment for its Linux-based workloads.

Expanding investment in IBM System z
Strong growth in 2011 led EFiS to further expand its investment in IBM hardware by purchasing a third IBM System z server – the IBM zEnterprise 114 (z114). The IBM z114 provides unprecedented performance through the latest mainframe technology, and also ensures that EFiS stays at the forefront of software developments and virtualization technology.

As a highly workload-optimised system, the IBM z114 offers integrated, centrally managed workload deployment, which has enabled EFiS to dramatically simplify its hardware infrastructure. The company has gained a single, integrated view of all workloads. This helps drive operational efficiencies in deployment, integration and management, allowing EFiS to meet changing requirements much faster.

Banking connections for the new Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), based on the Electronic Banking Internet Communication Standard (EBICS), have been greatly improved with the new IBM z114. The system’s integrated hardware encryption processor helps EFiS to achieve high speed payment transactions through EBICS.

Boosting business flexibility with IBM software
EFiS uses IBM WebSphere software to efficiently manage its application environment and accelerate the flow of information across the organisation. The decision to implement IBM WebSphere middleware was strongly motivated by the growing importance of mobile financial data and liquidity management in the financial industry.

The company deployed IBM WebSphere Application Server for running Java Enterprise Solutions to support a broad range of application platforms, including the SWIFT Alliance Web platform and the SWIFT Service Bureau, which lets EFiS access payment and statement reporting for all accounts through a single connection.

Additionally, EFiS leverages IBM WebSphere MQ software, which provides point-to-point connectivity to customers’ host banking and payment systems. By improving the flow of information across the business, IBM WebSphere MQ enables EFiS to adjust more rapidly to evolving business requirements and seamlessly bridge to new technologies.

Improved performance and efficiency
With the IBM System z platforms, IBM z/VM® virtualization technologies and the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z operating system, EFiS has successfully consolidated its IT environment and significantly improved performance levels. The company was able to consolidate a total of 210 Linux instances by installing ten production Linux systems on IBM System z. By retiring obsolete and underperforming hardware, EFiS was also able to more than double data processing speeds and optimise data centre operations.

Furthermore, the new z/VM 6.2 release enables the company to use multiple z/VM systems as one clustered and consolidated virtualization platform, and to relocate live running Linux guests from one z/VM system to another, even across physical hardware borders.

Consolidation has considerably lightened the administrative workload for IT staff, allowing them to focus on more business-critical tasks. Now, the IT team can easily adjust the allocation of processors and memory, which also helps to ensure optimal resource utilisation. Since installing the new IBM System z servers, EFiS has seen more than a 30 percent savings in energy consumption. The system’s energy efficiency helps EFiS to meet its green IT goals. A significant reduction in its carbon footprint has minimized the impact the company makes on the environment.

The highly virtualised Linux landscape on the IBM z114 offers extraordinarily high levels of processor utilization, so that a single Integrated Facility for Linux processor is able to handle workloads equivalent to a large number of x86-based servers. This is a particularly significant benefit when it comes to running software that is licensed on a per-processor basis. By dramatically reducing the total number of licensed processors, EFiS was able to gain instant savings when migrating applications to the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server environment on IBM System z.

The virtualization capabilities of the IBM System z platform are also important to EFiS in terms of scalability and flexibility. IT staff can now rapidly provision new virtualized Linux environments, increasing business agility and enabling the company to efficiently meet the changing demands of its clients.

Running the Linux operating system has provided EFiS with a highly secure environment, greatly improving business resiliency. This is a key selling point for the company’s clients, as the finance industry has very high demands for data security and integrity, and requires businesses to comply with strict data protection laws.

By combining the traditional reliability and availability of IBM System z technology with the openness and flexibility of Linux software, EFiS benefits from the best of both worlds.

Armin Gerhardt, CEO at EFiS EDI Finance Service AG, comments: “In taking advantage of the IBM System z we are able to fulfil our clients’ expectations and our vision of quality of service.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

System z, System z: Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL), System z: System z running Linux - SUSE, System z: System z running z/VM, System z: System z10 Business Class (z10 BC), System z: zEnterprise 114 (z114)

WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Application Server

Operating system:
Novell SUSE Linux

Legal Information

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