BRED is winning new clients in France and overseas. To continue to grow without any impact on service quality, the company looked to refresh its IT infrastructure.
With a modernized enterprise server landscape based on IBM Storage and IBM Z technology, BRED enabled more responsive service and ensured it can handle rising numbers of transactions.
5:1average storage compression rate reduces costs and frees up headroom for growth
Up to 60%decrease in backup windows helps to enable superb service continuity
Clearsthe path to cloud adoption, giving BRED more options for the future
Business challenge story
Preparing for change
Today’s consumers want to bank on their own terms. That means anywhere, anytime through mobile devices, while keeping the human relationship that binds customers to banks for life. In response, BRED is reinventing itself to delight clients through digital channels, while retaining its focus on building deep relationships with its customers.
To prepare for this transformation, BRED evaluated its IT infrastructure to verify that it could provide the performance, efficiency and scalability to take the bank into a new era and sustain growth. The bank decided that, in order to meet current and future requirements, it was time for a change.
Christophe Boulanger, Servers, Virtualization, Storage, Open & Mainframe, BRED, explains: “At the center of our IT operations is an IBM Z server landscape supported by a virtual tape solution [VTS]. The tape library was almost five years old and it was showing signs of obsolescence. As demand on the environment increased, we were seeing performance decline and backup processes growing longer, which increased the risk of negative impact on our service to clients.”
The BRED IT team set a target: select future-proof infrastructure that offers better performance, enables shorter backup windows and provides built-in scalability. And, thinking long-term, the team wanted to lay the foundations for a cloud strategy. Boulanger comments: “As we want to keep open the possibility of archiving data to the cloud in the future, we needed a new IT solution that would support this option.”
Partnering for success
To support the next phase in its evolution, BRED selected a virtual tape solution based on IBM TS7760 featuring Transparent Cloud Tiering. At the same time, the bank opted to upgrade its IBM z12 server to the IBM z14® generation.
“We chose IBM because they offered the best virtual tape solution on the market,” says Boulanger. “The IBM team presented many compelling references from other banking clients, so we knew that the technology was tried and tested by companies with similar demands. Equally, we had confidence in the durability and ongoing evolution of the IBM storage technology. Above all, the decision allowed us to consolidate to a single vendor for the entire landscape.”
BRED worked closely with the IBM team to deploy three IBM TS7760 systems in a high-availability configuration across three sites. Data is synchronously replicated between the two production sites before being replicated to the backup site.
“Since we were moving to a new generation of IBM Z server at the same time as the VTS refresh, this was a major project,” remarks Boulanger. “With help from IBM, it all went very smoothly, with IBM mitigating risk every step of the way. One of the big advantages of working with IBM is the access to local resources – we had the same expert from France on-site throughout the project, making the process much easier.”
Banking on a bright future
BRED can now resume its focus on extending its client base both in France and further afield, confident that its new IBM infrastructure offers the capacity and easy scaling to accommodate growth. Using integrated storage compression, the bank is boosting utilization of resources to enable better returns on its investments.
“Our average compression ratio on the IBM TS7760 is 5:1 – we were expecting it to be 3:1, so this is a really impressive outcome,” says Boulanger. “We have freed up storage capacity, driving down the cost per TB and giving ourselves space to grow over the next three years.”
In choosing IBM technology, BRED achieved its performance goals for the refreshed IT infrastructure. The bank uses the powerful IBM systems to deliver responsive services to clients and accelerate backup processes.
“We targeted a three-hour decrease in backup windows, and with IBM Storage technology we achieved that, representing a reduction of 60 percent,” explains Boulanger. “Our IBM virtual tape solution is very reliable, offering consistently high performance, and we’re not even pushing the technology anywhere near its limits yet.”
BRED benefits from deep insight into its IT infrastructure and easier access to vendor support. Boulanger adds: “Our administrators now have much greater visibility of our virtual tape environment, allowing them to optimize performance on an ongoing basis. If something does go wrong, we no longer have to deal with the challenges of three different vendors. Instead, we can raise a single ticket with IBM support if we need help and they respond fast, each and every time.”
The bank is drawing on its relationship with IBM to utilize its new infrastructure to its full potential and to fine-tune its long-term technology strategy. Specifically, BRED is exploring the possibility of data archival to the cloud using the Transparent Cloud Tiering feature built into the IBM T7760 system.
Boulanger concludes: “We are closely following the evolution of IBM’s cloud offerings. It’s reassuring to know that we have the technology in place to support a cloud strategy. We are free to choose if and when we will make the next move.”
BRED Banque Populaire
BRED is a cooperative people’s bank, supported by its 200,000 members, €4.9bn in equity and 6,000 employees. BRED has a network of 400 business sites in France and maintains a long-term relationship with more than one million customers. As part of the BPCE Group, BRED Banque Populaire operates in various sectors: retail banking, corporate banking for large-cap companies and institutional investors, wealth management, international banking, asset management, trading, insurance, and international trade financing.