BNZ ready to retire 500 servers

Virtualisation helps reduce BNZ's server clutter - and its carbon footprint

Virtualisation is the name of the game for the Bank of New Zealand, which expects to phase out around 500 servers after purchasing two high-end Z series computers from IBM.

These, along with HP blades, should see the other servers phased out over three years, as they become due for replacement, says CIO Paul Tait.

The bank has bought Linux-based Z9 and Z10 boxes to run front-end applications, including internet banking and teller applications, which are both projects currently under way.

One machine will sit at the IBM datacentre in Auckland, the other in Wellington, as back-up.

“We’re focused on our carbon footprint and virtualisation,” says Tait. “Normally, we would have 500 servers. Eventually, everything will run on one dirty great machine.”

He says virtualisation is being undertaken in the Linux, Unix and Wintel spaces.

Analysing return on investment was tricky, because a number of projects were involved. “The distributed environment is good for failover, but we were getting as low as 15% utilisation on some machines. We expect to make major savings [with virtualisation].”

The Z-series machines, which succeeded the System 390, in 2000, will run IFL on the Linux side.

The bank has identical machines in Melbourne, but runs the Z-series operating system in a mainframe environment, with more processors turned on. There are no mainframes remaining at the BNZ in New Zealand.

Tait says the core banking platform and overnight processing will continue to be run out of Melbourne. “We don’t believe any datacentre in New Zealand comes close from the point of view of resilience.”

Nearly three years ago, the Reserve Bank announced it was working on a set of principles to ensure that customers of New Zealand banks, and their information, would stay safe in the event of the collapse of an overseas IT outsourcer, parent bank or service organisation.

Tait says the BNZ is going through a submission process, whereby it is responding to an outsourcing draft policy proposed by the Reserve Bank.

Spokesman Mike Hannah couldn’t give a date for completion of the outsourcing arrangements. “We are committed to getting the arrangements finalised as soon as possible,” he says.

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Tags HPvirtualisationserverconsolidationvirtualizationbladez10BladesBNZz9

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