F5 Brings Optimal Availability, Security, and Performance for Ooba’s Web-Based Financial Applications
Expansion is the name of the game for successful businesses. Ooba, formerly MortgageSA, is the leading home mortgage originator in South Africa. Three years ago, Ooba set its sights on moving beyond its mortgage broker roots to offer a broader range of financial services for homebuyers, including insurance and real estate listings. Ooba wanted to offer these services via the Web, and the company needed to make sure that the application delivery platform it selected could provide performance, security, and reliability for its customers.
Focusing on Web-based financial services applications makes good business sense. 2009 was a challenging year for the mortgage industry, but according to survey figures compiled by National Mortgage News, online loan production in the United States increased 24 percent in 2009 compared to 2008. However, it’s not enough just to offer financial services applications online. Research by the International Journal of Bank Marketing found that the most important contributors to the success of online banking Websites are usability and customer satisfaction.
Ooba looked to Oracle partner F5 Networks, Inc. for the answer. The company chose a full spectrum of Oracle solutions for its Web-based applications, including Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Portal, Oracle SOA Suite, and Oracle Application Server with F5’s BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM).
BIG-IP LTM is an application delivery networking system that provides the most-intelligent and adaptable solution to secure, optimize, and deliver applications, enabling organizations to effectively and competitively run their business. Ron Carovano, F5 senior business development manager, says, “The network connectivity in South Africa where Ooba operates in isn’t always the best. Using our BIG-IP LTM has enabled them to overcome some of the challenges of delivering Web-based applications to users and improve the user experience.”
Ooba’s customers access applications a variety of ways, including via mobile devices, home computers using DSL or satellite connections, and high-speed networks. F5’s BIG-IP LTM utilizes intelligence to independently negotiate the communication parameters to optimally deliver the application to each user. Carovano says, “The applications always have to be up; they always have to be responsive. Ooba needed to make certain that its significant investment in Oracle technologies could deliver value to its customers.”
Dominique dHotman, Ooba’s manager of enterprise architecture, says, “Downtime is a major concern for us. We needed to find a system that would boost our availability and intelligently handle application failures. F5’s system was really intuitive and easy to implement.” With F5’s BIG-IP LTM running across Ooba’s infrastructure, Ooba has seen a great improvement in application availability to customers and business partners, and reduced server overhead by 20 percent. Its intuitive Web interface and predefined application templates enable IT managers to easily make changes and updates across the entire application delivery environment.
dHotman also praises the security improvements offered by BIG-IP LTM. He says, “The very capable TCP stack in the device has allowed us to integrate security at various levels of the system, and this enables us to protect different systems using different mechanisms all on the same device.”
Installing and deploying F5’s BIG-IP LTM took just one day and it didn’t require any major changes to Ooba’s network. “The project went live very quickly without downtime or multiparty coordination,” says dHotman.
Carovano was equally pleased with the headache-free deployment, adding, “It’s so easy to deploy because we work so closely with Oracle. They provided us with detailed technical documentation that describes exactly how to configure the Oracle applications to work with our device, so they are optimally configured and run the way we expect.”
“F5’s partnership with Oracle really helps us as a joint customer because there are many proven certified configurations that are available to us,” says dHontman. “This alleviates the need for trial and error on our end because we know that solution interoperability has been extensively tested and documented.”
Carovano adds, “Our BIG-IP LTM has made Ooba more agile. Deploying our product with Oracle is a benefit that keeps paying dividends day in and day out.”