This organization operates one of the world's largest banking data centers, spanning multiple sites throughout Germany. It supports over 350 local banks, state banks, and public insurance organizations, managing service for more than 100 million bank accounts and handling over 120 billion transactions annually.
“Our focus in all activities and developments has been to provide a reliable and stable IT operation for our customers, including nearly 50 million savings bank customers,” said the CEO.
A central task for the organization is ensuring the security, protection, and integrity of both the savings banks' and their customers' data. To this end, defensive measures are continually adapted and advanced. Beyond this, the savings banks have successfully digitized and transformed their traditional business models and processes over the past few decades, merging brick-and-mortar and digital operations. Now, they need to persistently upgrade their data center infrastructure to support not just regular banking transactions but also their digital product offerings.
“For purely digital products to scale quickly and gain traction, having 25 million online-savvy customers and 7 million app users is just the beginning. We must significantly expand our digital customer base,” explained the CEO.
Thus, achieving a faster time to market while reducing overall operational costs is crucial for the success of these ambitious plans.
A primary issue was the legacy approach to deploying storage in their data centers, which necessitated separate management for compute and storage. This separation, compounded by stringent financial regulatory oversight, made the management process extremely cumbersome and time-consuming for infrastructure administrators.
Yves Sandfort, the Chief Architect at comdivision and a VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX), recognized the need for better performance, fault tolerance, and high availability options than the current setup could offer. He recommended the use of stretched, or 'Metro Clusters': "A stretched cluster extends a storage cluster across two sites, enhancing availability and load balancing,” said Sandfort. “We evaluated various options and vendors, ensuring they met all the specific requirements of the banking industry."
Sandfort highlighted comdivision's manufacturer and solution-independent approach: “At comdivision, we begin by identifying the key business drivers and aligning them with IT requirements. Then, we assess the available market options.” A decisive factor for the customer was their existing use of vSphere as their virtualization platform. This made vSAN, the only vSphere-native storage, a natural choice. vSAN offered the opportunity to improve business agility while managing complexity, cost, and risks.
vSAN not only enhanced performance in the data center but also offered the best cost-to-function ratio. The implementation, guided by Sandfort's expert architecture, was seamless. “Sometimes, an external perspective is best,” said the lead administrator. “comdivision guided us through every step of implementing the vSAN solution, ensuring we were prepared for all subsequent operations. Having access to comdivision's expertise, through a pre-paid plan that provides a direct line for assistance, was invaluable. It’s reassuring to know you can call someone who knows exactly what they're doing,” concluded the lead administrator.