About Sparda Datenverarbeitung eG
Sparda-Datenverarbeitung eG (SDV) is the IT provider for the Sparda-Bank Group in Germany, which serves approximately 4.2 million customers. SDV develops secure and innovative IT solutions for retail banking, payment, distribution and financing. Its central core banking system 'MBS' manages customer data and is used by all the company's clients.
SDV was one of the first companies in Germany to install the latest generation mainframe from IBM - the IBM zEnterprise 196 (z196). With business-critical applications such as those supporting its online banking system running on the mainframe, the company needed to maximise stability.
"SDV prides itself on being a consistently early adopter giving our clients the benefit of new features and developments as soon as possible," said Bernd Bohne, Department Head, Central Systems Technology, Sparda-Datenverarbeitung eG.
To be able to run all of its main business systems on one hardware platform, SDV needed a reliable and well-supported Linux distribution that would run on the IBM mainframe. For SDV, the business continuity capabilities of z/VM, z/OS and GDPS were among the key drivers for consolidating its business-critical open systems databases to the mainframe.
Working with IBM, SDV deployed an IBM z196 at each of its two data centres, activating six Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) engines on each box. IFLs are 'specialty engines'—processors exclusively dedicated to Linux workloads. The decision to run SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server for System z on IBM mainframes has been in place for some years at SDV, due mainly to the strong strategic partnership between IBM and Novell.
"When we had to decide which Linux operating system to run on our mainframe environment, we considered Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but SUSE Linux Enterprise Server had the better driver support for our needs," said Bohne. "The long-standing collaboration between Novell and IBM convinced us that even over the long term SUSE Linux Enterprise Server will be the ideal platform for our IBM mainframe."
SDV runs a number of very large databases within the virtualized Linux environments, such as globo, where the virtual Linux server requires 30 GB memory and approximately 350 GB storage. The company also relies on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to support online banking services for the Sparda Banking Group's 4.2 million customers.
"We needed the solution we chose to provide excellent performance - and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z has certainly delivered this," said Bohne. "Our online banking services process approximately 1,200 online transactions per second, so we simply cannot afford them to fail. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, which is involved in a significant part of this workload, makes us confident that this will not happen."
Using the state-of-the-art virtualisation capabilities of the IBM z196, SDV is able to quickly and efficiently provision new virtual Linux instances. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is highly manageable and easy to administer, making this process as simple as possible.
"The combination of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z and IBM z/VM allows us to create new virtual servers in just 30 minutes," said Bohne. "Because the Linux instances are so simple to manage, this can be done with minimal resources, enabling us to respond extremely quickly to new demands and roll out new applications more efficiently."
With built-in best-in-class application security, SUSE Enterprise Server for System z is the ideal choice for SDV, which handles sensitive information governed by strict data-sharing laws. Seamlessly integrating with the proven security features in the IBM z196, the solution offers the resiliency required to combat external threats.
"Running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on IBM System z really gives us peace of mind," said Bohne. "We get the benefits of open systems technology with all its flexibility combined with high availability and high performance of the mainframe platform."
Ultimately, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z delivers the reliability SDV requires to support the entire Sparda Bank Group.
"Since deploying SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on the IBM z196 we have experienced over 99 percent availability," said Bohne. "This proves that Linux's reputation for stability and reliability is well and truly deserved. We imagine the solution will play an integral role in SDV's infrastructure for some time to come."