Published on 28 Nov 2012
"The efficiency of our infrastructure is a cornerstone of our continued profitable growth. The upgrade of CICS is an example of our commitment to investing in it." - Tufan Alatan, executive vice president, Garanti Technology
System z Software
Based in Istanbul, Garanti Bank is Turkey’s second-largest bank, with assets of USD78 billion. The bank services its nine million customers through a network of 880 branches and nearly 3,000 ATMs spread across Turkey. Garanti Technology is a subsidiary of Garanti Bank that provides technology services and solutions to customers that include its parent company.
With continued strong growth in customers, assets and transactions, Garanti Bank needed to manage capacity and reduce costs.
The bank chose to upgrade its core banking systems to the latest version of IBM CICS Transaction Server software.
Garanti can now better manage its IBM® System z® servers’ capacity use, thus reducing its cost per transaction and minimizing the need to invest in additional capacity.
Based in Istanbul, Garanti Bank is Turkey’s second-largest bank, with assets of USD78 billion. The bank services its nine million customers through a network of 880 branches and nearly 3,000 ATMs spread across Turkey. Garanti Technology is a subsidiary of Garanti Bank that provides technology services and solutions to customers that include its parent company. The Garanti story is one of rapid and sustained growth in nearly all of its lines of business, which include corporate, private, commercial, small and medium enterprises, retail and investment banking. Just as characteristic has been the bank’s track record of deploying advanced technology to pursue alternative service delivery channels, including mobile and online banking.
Meeting a new mix of challenges
The strong organic growth at Garanti has occurred against a backdrop of rising operational costs, increasing competition to attract and retain customers, and lower operating margins. Nonetheless, Garanti also needed to maintain its high standard of customer service, attaching significant importance to its ability to provision the right mix of transaction resources. That challenge extended to the online banking channel, through which Garanti served as many as 1.2 million unique users every day.
Garanti runs its core banking operations, including lending, credit card and its ATM network, on IBM CICS® Transaction Server software, which runs on a pair of IBM System z196® Enterprise Class (z196 EC) servers running the IBM z/OS® operating system. To maximize availability, the servers are clustered using IBM Parallel Sysplex® technology. IBM DB2® for z/OS software manages the banking data underlying its operations.
As Garanti shifted more of its banking activity online, it continually focused on improving its system availability while lowering its transaction costs. One way it did this was by taking advantage of the mature virtualization capabilities of the System z platform by doubling the number of logical partitions (LPARs), thus increasing its processing capacity proportionally. Another approach aimed at improving capacity use was enabling thread-safe program execution within its CICS Transaction Server environment. This meant that Garanti could distribute workloads within each of its System z196 EC servers and take better advantage of their multiprocessing capabilities. That, in turn, cut the bank’s CPU requirements and cost.
Seeking efficiency through balance
Ever mindful of optimization opportunities, Garanti more recently sought to improve its ability to manage processing capacity by gaining more control over its ability to balance workloads across its System z196 EC servers. Garanti saw the primary benefit of this balance as capacity optimization or, put simply, the ability to process more transactions within its existing processing infrastructure. For instance, in the increasingly likely event of a spike in transaction volume, too much processing by one server ran the risk of pushing use beyond its capacity value. By having the ability to shift a portion of that workload to the other server, Garanti could more efficiently absorb it.
While currently running CICS Transaction Server V3.2, Garanti participated in the managed beta test for CICS Transaction Server V4.2. In the course of the test, the bank found that the new version’s enhancements to IBM CICS systems management capabilities, such as extra tuning parameters and additional modes for routing algorithms, provided a greater opportunity to realize efficiencies in workload distribution. Garanti also saw major advantages in transaction tracking, a capability that the bank sought for some time, as well as in the IBM CICS Explorer® tool, which it saw as a way to accelerate transferring skills and best practices.
Further, Garanti saw significant value in a key feature of the newest release of CICS Transaction Server software known as the IBM CICSPlex® System Manager workload-management function, which would directly address the need to balance workloads. To Garanti team members, the chief appeal of the CICSPlex System Manager workload-management feature was its flexibility, the fact that they could define optimization parameters to suit their specific load-balancing objectives. In most cases, load-balancing schemes would tend to shift workloads to locally available resources within the same server. In this respect, the advantage of the CICSPlex System Manager workload-management function lay in its flexible queuing algorithms, which allow Garanti to set load balancing across servers as the primary optimization goal. On this basis, Garanti chose to upgrade its core banking systems to V4.2 of CICS Transaction Server software.
Positioned for profitable growth
When its upgrade of CICS Transaction Server software is complete, Garanti will be better positioned than ever to optimize its core banking infrastructure. Consequently, as Garanti continues to grow in terms of assets, customers and transactions, its IT infrastructure’s efficiency will enable the company to better control IT costs over the long term. As a direct result of its upgrade, Garanti will be better positioned to handle transaction activity peaks without impacting its services’ availability and performance. Ultimately, the bank expects to achieve capacity use improvements of up to 10 percent.
Garanti has done a lot to improve its processing efficiency. The fact that it can now balance workloads across its servers is the latest chapter in that story. One key net result is that Garanti has effectively increased its processing capacity without having to invest in additional computing resources. That’s one reason Garanti has been able to continually reduce its cost per transaction and why it sees an efficient banking infrastructure as the cornerstone of future profitability.
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© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America November 2012 IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, CICS, System z, z/OS, Parallel Sysplex, DB2, CICS Explorer, and CICSPlex are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml The client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.