NetApp helps meBank re-engineer IT processes to reduce cost and risk

Sydney, AUSTRALIA - May 10, 2010 - meBank (formerly Members Equity) was created in 1999, however its origins date back to September 1994 when National Mutual launched Super Member Home Loans (SMHL).

Designed to offer low-cost home loans for Australian workers, The Australian Council of trade Unions (ACTU) backed initiative quickly became an important benefit for the members of participating superannuation funds and affiliated trade unions.

Many years on, the SMHL programme offered by meBank is still going strong and providing members with billions of dollars in low-cost home loans.

The success of this no nonsense approach to borrowing - together with an increasing demand from members for other banking services - highlighted the need for a new type of bank, where all products were simple, straight forward and offered value for money to working Australians.

In July 2001 meBank received its banking licence from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

meBank is now owned by a number of industry superannuation funds. Profits earned provide a return on investment for these funds and their members.

meBank has over 800 staff across Australia with offices in all state capitals and Mobile Banking Managers in major metropolitan areas, as well as some provincial cities.

The challenge
meBank's existing IT infrastructure was not providing timely or cost-effective storage or back-up and recovery. Scalability was restricted and expensive and the host infrastructure was complex and slow. Basic tasks such as provisioning storage, data back-up and restore, and database refreshes took much longer than necessary. Data was being backed up to tape, which was slower than other solutions available.

In a financial services environment, where high-availability of information and fast, reliable retrieval of data is critical, these challenges created unnecessary risks for the business.

The IT department was restricted in the response times it could provide to the business, and time-to-market for new services was slower than optimal. If full data recovery was necessary, retrieval often took several days.

meBank wanted to upgrade its storage capability to a consolidated SAN environment to simplify storage management, as well as improve its data management, backup and recovery. This included reducing the disparate products in use, simplifying back-up and restore processes and eliminating redundant tasks.

The company needed a new disaster recovery and high-availability storage solution which would allow IT to respond more quickly to business needs, and reduce time-to-market for new applications and solutions.

The solution
meBank engaged NetApp to partner on a strategy to re-engineer meBank's IT processes and storage environment to improve workflows and asset utilisation and deliver business breakthroughs. The aim was to reduce cost, risk and time through high-availability of data and new storage capabilities, resulting in better business agility.

The strategy also incorporated a simplified storage management process to further reduce costs, complexity and risk of operational errors.

To do this, NetApp worked with meBank to replace the host layer and the storage layer. This involved replacing the entire standard operating environment, including host platforms, networks and operating systems. NetApp replaced meBank's entire disk-to-tape storage infrastructure with a disk-to-disk solution based on NetApp's FAS3070 and FAS6040 storage platform.

NetApp engaged Fujitsu as meBank's new service delivery and support provider, and as the new host of meBank's production data centre. In the swap from the previous data centre provider to Fujitsu, it was critical for meBank to have 48-hour failover & failback capability of its live production workloads, which spanned three data centre sites. Using NetApp Metrocluster, NetApp and Fujitsu provided this service with zero transaction loss and zero data loss whilst still providing full internet and telephone banking services for meBank's customers.

Shane Kuret, Executive Manager IT, meBank, said, "Our initial requirement in partnering with NetApp was to review our disaster recovery environment to ensure we had a flexible, dependable solution in place with high-availability access to mission-critical data and near-zero data loss. NetApp and Fujitsu provided us with a much more comprehensive solution that has allowed us to not only back up our data securely and consistently, but replicate our entire production data environment to a secondary site across town in real time. The successful site relocation was a testament to the great planning and work done by all NetApp-Fujitsu-meBank project team members, and was a perfect stress test to prove the resilience of the solution for running our mission-critical applications."

The benefits
Since implementing the NetApp and Fujitsu solution, meBank has gained multiple benefits at the IT and business level. These benefits translate to time savings, cost reduction and decreased risk to the business.

Shane Kuret said, "Partnering with NetApp turned out to be a positive, cost-effective decision for meBank. We now have an excellent combination of high-availability solutions and effective disaster recovery, which is distributing benefits across the entire business."

From an IT perspective, meBank has reduced the preparation time for a full site disaster recovery test from 10 days to one day. Database builds and refreshes have been reduced from three days to 2.5 hours. Storage consumed for application backups has been cut by 99 percent.

Development and testing environments are now achieving 200 percent utilisation rates on the NetApp storage through the use of cloned production data with NetApp FlexClone and deduplication. This is a 150 percent improvement on the results from the previous environment. meBank's developers are now using multiple database clones to do testing in parallel, which reduces time-to-market for new applications.

The elimination of tape backup infrastructure and offsite tape storage has reduced the associated security and data risks.

Overall, storage unit costs, in addition to time required for provisioning, backup and recovery, and data copying have all been slashed.

Shane Kuret said, "All of these individual benefits combine to save our team enormous amounts of time that can be better spent on more productive tasks that help our business go further, and money which can be re-invested back into the IT organisation to offer better services to our customers."

From a business perspective, the time and capacity reductions generated as a result of the NetApp & Fujitsu solution will translate into millions of dollars in hard cost savings over seven years.

With a more flexible and scalable IT environment that can respond faster to business needs, meBank can now deliver new products and services to customers faster than ever before.

"One of the strongest outcomes of working with NetApp on this project was the company's professional services team. They ensured that every promise was delivered upon and if any issues did arise, they took ownership and resolved them. These traits make NetApp an ideal, ongoing partner," Shane Kuret said.

Next steps
The next steps for meBank are to evaluate moving to an IP-SAN environment. Currently, around 90 percent of the company's storage sits on fibre-channel infrastructure.

With core systems currently running in active and other systems in standby mode, Shane Kuret and his team are planning a move to an active/active environment.

Solution components

  • NetApp products
    • Tier 1: 1 xFAS3070A; Tier 2: 2xFAS6040A; Tier RR: 1xFAS3070A and 1xFAS3070
    • NetApp FlexVol
    • NetApp FlexClone
    • NetApp SnapManager for SQL, Exchange, Oracle, SMVI
    • NetApp SnapDrive for Windows and Unix
    • NetApp SnapRestore
    • NetApp SnapMirror
    • NetApp SnapVault
    • NetApp Protection Manager
    • NetApp Operations Manager
    • NetApp Metrocluster
    • NetApp Syncmirror
  • Protocols
    • NFS, CIFS, FCP
  • Environment
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Solaris
  • NetApp Global Services
    • Design and implementation

Media Contact:
Rachel York
Max Australia
+61 29469 5740