Adelaide Bank drops Novell in DR overhaul

Adelaide Bank has completed its new disaster recovery infrastructure and is migrating its open systems from Novell to Microsoft.

After winning management buy-in more than three years ago, the bank's IT department set about implementing a secondary DR site for both mainframe and open systems, including the deployment of a new SAN.

A spokesperson for Adelaide Bank said banking is the most regulated industry in Australia and DR is no longer an option, but a business requirement.

"Through external regulation, the requirements for banks in terms of service continuity are getting more demanding," he said, adding that customers expect services to be available 24x7.

"DR therefore moves from an add-on to the production environment to being incorporated into the design of the production environment."

During a presentation at this year's Interaction IBM users' conference in Sydney last week, Adelaide Bank's technical support manager Gary Lloyd described the mainframe DR environment as "a journey to the new sophisticated environment" and, until the team had reached the end point, "didn't realize how far [it] had come".

The bank upgraded is existing mainframe to an IBM zSeries z800 model and purchased another z800 for its DR site. The data is also now mirrored across the sites.

When asked about the bank's commitment to the mainframe as a platform, Lloyd said it will be using it for at least another five years.

Lloyd is confident the new architecture can recover the entire mainframe environment in under two hours, or "if we get slick", in about an hour. The bank is also moving more open systems data to the new SAN.

"The second component of the SAN is to implement Microsoft's SQL Server in a clustered configuration to improve DR availability," Lloyd said, adding that the bank will move to Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 later this year.

Lloyd said the reason for dumping Novell relates to the bank not wanting to have staff with the necessary experience across a wide range of products.

"It's easier to have one software vendor," he said. "Lock-in could be a problem but just because we go [wholly] with Microsoft that doesn't mean we can't go anywhere else."

Novell's national sales manager Ian Jackson said both Novell and Microsoft have had a good relationship with Adelaide Bank and only recently did it decide to standardize on Microsoft.

"It's no different to a fleet manager choosing Holden or Ford depending on experience," Jackson said. "It's an exciting time for Novell with Linux but you can't convince everyone."

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