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John Gentry
John Gentry

Performance Monitoring Key to Smooth Infrastructure Modernization

As banks consider how to shift infrastructure and storage solutions, they can't afford to lose visibility into performance.

There are certain components of our lives that we expect to be available 24/7; access to our finances is one of them. For banking and financial datacenters, outages and poor performance aren’t an option, particularly when there are so many mission-critical applications and workloads in play. If these datacenters fail outright, or even encounter bottlenecks or underutilized resources within the infrastructure, the cost of recovery and adjustment can be extremely high, particularly for institutions operating on outdated platforms. However, datacenter modernization can open the door for a whole new set of issues, and inevitably, customers feel the impact of such problems.

In order to create high-performance banking and financial datacenter environments that meet customers’ needs, while also managing ever increasing costs, organizations need to focus on performance.

Transforming the datacenter with IPM: a case study
When datacenter teams employ infrastructure performance management (IPM), they can view the whole environment and also drill down into problem areas, such as expanding application workloads or overburdened infrastructure. With that insight -- along with knowledge of legacy systems, budgets, and maintenance plans -- financial datacenters can gradually upgrade their systems without inviting the risks that come with broad, blind equipment replacements.

We’ve seen this play out time and again. For example, one of the largest banks in Scandinavia wanted to modernize its IT infrastructure to mitigate risk, cut costs, and stay competitive in its market. That was no easy task, given the need to maintain continuity for the organization’s thousands of business and individual account holders.

The job involved integrating a new storage solution with automatic tiering, decommissioning old hardware, and closing the original 13,000-square-foot datacenter in favor of one that is virtualized and only 2,500 square feet. The goal was a greener, more efficient, and more modern infrastructure, but the journey to reaching it was complicated by the nature of the always-on financial industry.

Without the option to switch servers off during the migration, the institution’s storage infrastructure team used IPM to observe and react to status changes during the transformation. Those insights allowed the bank to collect and analyze data during the switch to identify problems in the storage area network and find solutions quickly. IPM also helped the bank pinpoint and tap into existing resources, including thousands of unused ports. Without that visibility, the institution would have needlessly purchased unnecessary capacity.

During a phased approach, the Scandinavian bank relocated and transformed its datacenter without interrupting services to customers. The project involved:

  • The movement of 1,600 pieces of equipment over six months
  • Modernization of the network, storage, servers, and infrastructure
  • Introduction of virtualization

IPM helped the bank, one of Europe’s largest, future-proof its systems without impairing its customer service.

Industry shifts compel datacenter modernization
As the financial industry changes, so too must the infrastructure organizations rely upon to serve their customers. Financial institutions want to right-size their datacenters and upgrade to modern equipment that is more efficient, more flexible, and more capable of creating, expanding, and contracting capacity in response to business needs.

As banks consider how to shift their infrastructures to meet the needs of a fluctuating market, they can’t afford to lose visibility into performance -- not when customers have so many options for jumping to competitive products and services. IPM helps financial institutions effectively render such obstacles obsolete by providing comprehensive IT visibility and guaranteeing the performance, availability, and overall health of their end-to-end systems.

John Gentry is the vice president of marketing and alliances at Virtual Instruments. He has more than 18 years of experience in marketing, sales and sales engineering, and has established his expertise in the open systems and storage ecosystems. Prior to Virtual Instruments, ... View Full Bio
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Greg MacSweeney
Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
8/26/2014 | 3:20:10 PM
As the saying goes: you can't manage what you don't measure.

Monitoring performance across a data center is important, especially since there are so many different moving parts, so to speak, in a data center. Knowing exactly which servers are overburdened and which ones are idle goes a long way to making the entire operation much more efficient.
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