Facing the Requirements
One of a company's most important assets is its information, especially for a banking institution. That is why the most demanding challenges for the Ixe Banco Systems team include maintaining uninterrupted system operations, and safeguarding its customer data.
To face these requirements, Ixe needed a solution capable of covering the following demands:
- Immediate data availability via on-line copies of the production data in two separate environments, one local and one remote
- Reduce migration time and effort
- No service degradation in the production environment’s response times
- Seamless set-up and configuration – causing no interruption in operations
- Support multiple and different hardware platforms, operating systems and database managers
- Optimize the network
After a thorough analysis of the available options, Ixe determined Sybase Replication Server as the solution best suited to fulfill these needs.
A Flexible Solution is the Choice
Given Replication Server's versatility, Ixe used this solution initially to replicate the databases on a Sun Microsystems platform to an IBM platform. Later, Ixe upgraded its infrastructure and therefore needed to replicate its data into new servers. This needed to be performed without risk, without interrupting operations, all within a very short migration timeframe. For these reasons, Ixe relied on Sybase.
“The first part of this project was to replicate Sybase databases, between two different hardware platforms, but we also used the Replication Server Option for Oracle,” explains Luis Alonso Coria, IT corporate director, Grupo Financiero Ixe. The effort presented a challenge due to the features of the requirement, the complexity of the solution's design, the integration of several vendor’s technologies and the bank's service operations needs. To fulfill all these configuration requirements, Sybase Replication Server was overwhelmingly the technology of choice.
The project was completed on time without a glitch, it was extremely successful. “After the pilot test, the deployment phase was completed as programmed. To aid our success, the Sybase training allowed our staff to be properly trained in the tool,” Alonso notes.
Superior Service Stands Out
Before deciding to deploy Sybase Replication Server, Ixe's Systems team evaluated several alternatives available in the market. The team verified that in addition to its technical features, Replication Server’s cost-benefit efficiency was greater than that of the competition.
“The functionality of the solutions we analyzed was similar, but there was an important difference in terms of costs mainly because of Sybase's licensing scheme. What happens is that Sybase's product is bi-directional, that is, the user company does not need to purchase double licenses to exchange information between servers or sites. Sybase Replication Server sends the data from the main equipment to the secondary one and vice versa with a single license, while the competition does not offer this. The customer has to buy two licenses, which doubles the cost,” said Alonso. “And for performance, we found the time needed to move data to a different site is greater in the case of other vendors.”
In fact, using Replication Server's bi-directional replication, while migrating from the original equipment to the new platform, the replication was “reversed” so that everything transferred in the new platform would also be inserted in the old equipment. This was done as a measure of security – in case of a problem in the new platform, the bank would be able to restore the data seamlessly to the old equipment.
Additionally, Alonso explains that during the product analysis phase, Ixe received better quality service from the Sybase team. “There was an important difference in both the treatment and the service we received from Sybase. They were more open to negotiating price matters and they would answer any question or requirement immediately, something the competition never did."
Once the upgrade was finished, Ixe found an additional benefit to using Replication Server. The bank now also uses this tool to replicate the information in the production center from one machine to another, and also to the backup center.
“Currently we are using the purchased licenses to replicate between two servers within the production site, and also between the production site and the backup site. We are using it this way, because even as we hope a major problem that forces us to operate from our backup center never happens, for regulation and customer protection reasons we must ensure that their information is dutifully replicated,” says Alonso.
Thanks to the deployment of Sybase Replication Server, Ixe's banking central system application is securely replicated online. “This means that all the information for each customer is backed up. Service will not be interrupted in case of a contingency, thanks to our backup site which stores an updated copy – up to the last transaction – in our main production site,” states Alonso.
“We are very satisfied with both Sybase Replication Server and the Sybase Professional Services Team which has provided the technology and expertise to help us meet our goals,” summarizes Alonso.
Looking at the Future
Thanks to the good results obtained with Sybase, "We are studying the possibility of deploying ASE Cluster Edition. This is our plan for the future." Ixe Banco's IT Director confidently declares.