Bank für Sozialwirtschaft Ensures High Availability and Performance of Core Banking System and Applications with Optimized Technology Stack
 
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Bank für Sozialwirtschaft Ensures High Availability and Performance of Core Banking System and Applications with Optimized Technology Stack

The reserves of German welfare institutions were exhausted after World War I due to high post-war inflation. These organizations collaborated, and in 1923, founded a lending institution for all bodies, known as “Kreditanstalt für die gesamten Wohlfahrtseinrichtungen” (credit institute for all welfare institutions)—known today as Bank für Sozialwirtschaft AG (BFS). Its purpose was and remains to grant loans to nonprofit welfare institutions, manage their savings, and provide them with financial and economic advice. BFS put in place a sustainable business model that it still uses today, in which profits are either reinvested in the bank or donated to charity. Its majority shareholders are still the central associations of the independent charitable bodies, regional charitable associations, and nonprofit organizations in Germany. BFS remains the only financial institution in the country that focuses solely on institutional clients in the social and healthcare sectors.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from Bank für Sozialwirtschaft AG

  • “We selected Oracle’s SPARC T5 servers running Oracle Solaris 11 to support our SAP R3 deployment, based on expected higher performance and scalability. The solution enables us to handle additional workloads and improve response times with virtually no changes to our SAP architecture. We used Pillar Axiom Quality of Service and worked with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services to ensure outstanding availability and reliability for our banking operations without over-provisioning our internal resources.” – Thomas Beneke, SAP System Technology Manager, Bank für Sozialwirtschaft AG

  • Expand storage capacity quickly and cost effectively to cope with increasing volumes of financial data of Germany’s charitable associations and nonprofit organizations
  • Migrate the bank’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to the new storage system within one month and without interrupting banking operations
  • Improve performance and response time of core business applications, including the company’s SAP core banking system
  • Work with a single industry-leading storage technology and services vendor, as the bank is too small to operate its own IT team or deal with several manufacturers

Solutions

  • Deployed two geographically separated Pillar Axiom 600 storage systems with a mix of fiber channel and solid-state drive bricks protected by mirrors to enable faster access to critical data
  • Improved performance and quality of service of the company’s core banking system thanks to the faster storage environment
  • Reduced storage costs with Pillar Axiom 600’s ease of usage, administration, and reporting—delivering higher storage capacity in a single rack
  • Used Pillar Axiom Quality of Service to achieve outstanding service levels for time-critical database operations without over-provisioning storage resources, gaining the ability to define an appropriate service level for each ERP application, based on its importance to the business
  • Ensured that mission-critical SAP applications perform optimally regardless of load by using an integrated Oracle platform including databases, servers, and storage systems, backed up by dedicated Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services engineers
  • Simplified system management with a centralized user interface and a single trouble-ticketing tool, enabling BFS to operate servers, network, applications, and storage with only four IT staff members
  • Consolidated four SPARC Enterprise Servers on SPARC T5 servers running Solaris 11 to run Oracle Database, ERP applications, and a business-critical Reuters gateway that delivers financial market data for the core banking system with increased reliability and lower total cost of ownership
  • Ensured high availability of IT systems with Oracle Solaris and Oracle Solaris Cluster, which provide advanced server, network, application, and storage monitoring, as well as automatic recovery in failover situations
  • Achieved a smooth transition from legacy Sun StorageTek array to Pillar Axiom 600 storage systems within one month by opening a third mirror, which ensured uninterrupted banking operations during the migration
  • Provided cost-effective scalability on demand to meet anticipated credit growth for welfare and charitable institutions
  • Collaborated with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services to ensure maximum system reliability and availability through dedicated support engineers who are familiar with the bank’s IT environment, including a single point of contact for support service delivery
  • Deployed the solution within budget and on time, with minimal customization, thanks to the assistance provided by Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services

Why Oracle

“We have a long relationship with Oracle and run our critical business applications on Oracle technologies—databases, servers, and storage systems. The main competition for Oracle’s Pillar Axiom was EMC’s VNX 5300 product line. We chose Pillar Axiom 600 because of the system’s ability to prioritize databases based on workload and its native support for Oracle Database, including Hybrid Columnar Compression,” said Thomas Beneke, SAP system technology manager, Bank für Sozialwirtschaft AG.