Burgan Bank capitalises on costs benefits of XRN

Burgan Bank is planning to leverage its network infrastructure as it looks to differentiate itself from local rivals and deliver 24x7 financial and banking services to customers.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  December 29, 2002

|~||~||~|Burgan Bank is planning to leverage its network infrastructure as it looks to differentiate itself from local rivals and deliver 24x7 financial and banking services to customers. Fundamental to this goal is the deployment of 3Com’s eXpandable Resilient Networking (XRN) technology and a Gigabit Ethernet network within its new 33-storey headquarters.

With the network project, which is scheduled to begin this month, the Kuwaiti financial institution is keen to capitalise on the redundancy and cost benefits that 3Com’s XRN technology offers.

“With XRN technology, 3Com has created new possibilities and benefits for our enterprise network by providing a cost-effective solution that not only ensures continuous network availability but also creates a path for future-proofing the network and minimising costs through a pay-as-you-grow approach,” says Fahed Al-Mnias, IT technical support manager, Burgan Bank.

3Com’s XRN technology enhances resiliency by enabling multiple switches to be connected together in a single distributed switching fabric with a shared IP address. This reduces management tasks and negates the need for enterprises to invest upfront in costly boxes that may be underutilised.

In its initial phase the XRN technology only enables users to interconnect two switches. As such, Burgan Bank is deploying 18 of the vendor’s 4050 switches and six 4924 switches, which will be interconnected using 3Com’s XRN Interconnect Kits, creating a total of 12 switch pairs.

“With XRN technology, we are driving [down] the cost and complexity of building and controlling a high performance network. We are also able to lower our upfront product acquisition costs,” says Al-Mnias.

The resiliency and robustness that XRN offers are also critical factors for the bank, which has to deliver 24x7 services such as internet banking and ATM facilities to customers.

“We cannot have downtime — we have ATMs which require 24x7 uptime, payment gateways, mobile ATM and cash acceptance services. These all have to be running 24x7,” comments Al-Mnias.

The interconnection between the 3Com switches guarantees that if one switch should fail, the other can automatically take over without any loss of service. “Because of its inherent automatic failover, the XRN solution provides us with a fully redundant network which will ensure continuous network performance even if one switch fails. Should a failure occur due to an environmental factor, the second switch would transfer the data transparently and without delay,” explains Al-Mnias.

Although, 3Com’s XRN technology has only been available in the region since September last year, Burgan Bank has faith in the technology and the scalability that it provides. Furthermore, the bank believes that by investing in the technology it will gain a competitive edge over rivals.

“To take a back seat and wait for something to be tested is always going to make you a follower. Burgan Bank wants to be the first, especially from an IT and technology point of view,” says Al-Mnias.

“As the first bank to implement this technology in the region… we are setting a new benchmark of guaranteed availability of services to our customers,” he adds.

Additionally, the bank is installing a Gigabit Ethernet network infrastructure from 3Com, comprising three of the vendor’s 4007R switches at the core of the network, with SuperStack 4400 switches delivering traffic to the desktop. The network builds on an existing 3Com solution that was deployed in bank’s current headquarters in 2001.

“I joined Burgan Bank two years ago and my first assignment was to improve the network infrastructure. We deployed a 3Com solution with 4007 switches to provide a resilient and robust Gigabit Ethernet core and 4900 switches in the middle between the core and the edge user,” says Al-Mnias.

“It [the 3Com network] has proven scalable and reliable. We have not had a single problem since we started working with it 18 months ago and management is a piece of cake because we can see the entire network,” he adds.

Burgan Bank’s previous project with 3Com, combined with its highly competitive pricing, proved the critical factors in the choice of a vendor for the new building’s network infrastructure.

“Our experience during the implementation [2001 project] gave us full confidence to turn to 3Com again. The 3Com team has a fundamental understanding of our business goals and IT strategy. When they put forward the XRN technology it was undeniably the best solution for us,” affirms Al-Mnias.||**||

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