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