CASE for Foundry

Egyptian financial institution seeks redundancy as it gears up for a leading role in regional banking. The firm has installed four backbone switches and several 10Gigabit FastIron Edge switches from Foundry.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  September 17, 2005

|~|Mr.-maged-shawky_m.jpg|~|“We had a very exclusive short list and looked very closely at the proposals. Price was not a consideration in our plans. We believe that you get what you pay for and we were willing to pay for a highly reliable network. This was why we chose Foundry.” - Maged Shawky, chairman of CASE.|~|Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchanges (CASE) has added redundancy to its operations by implementing Foundry core network products. The installation, which went live in June 2005, was carried out by Saudi Egyptian Logistics and Electronics Company (Salec) with FastIron Layer 2/3 modular systems, based on the JetCore ASIC chipset, deployed at the core of the network. The network consists of four backbone switches and several 10Gigabit FastIron Edge switches to provide a complete core to edge solution. The network serves more than 600 users and it is connected to more than 50 servers. CASE aims to be one of the core financial centres in the Middle East and North Africa and hopes this and other technology implementations can fuel these ambitions. Some of the key conditions it must fulfill are compliance and transparency, and this must be based on a solid network infrastructure. However, Maged Shawky, chairman of CASE says that increased regulation was not a major driver of the implementation, which instead took its inspiration from a desire to eliminate downtime. “The compliance issue was not the main driver. We wanted to put a state-of-the-art infrastructure in place to ensure that our growing business, which has high liquidity and is leading the region, did not have to suffer from network faults and failures,” he explains. CASE drew up its plan to renovate its IT infrastructure in 2001 and started with IT hardware, then dealt with software, before finally upgrading the network. The previous infrastructure was based on Extreme technology, however, Foundry made the successful bid in the latest tender process. “We had a very exclusive short list and looked very closely at the proposals. Price was not a consideration in our plans. We believe that you get what you pay for and we were willing to pay for a highly reliable network. This was why we chose Foundry. It has a great track record of providing reliable networks to a variety of institutions in the region. Another factor was the excellent service and support offered by Foundry,” says Shawky. CASE is depending on the Foundry technology to overcome sudden failures in its network, with built-in redundancy that kicks in as soon as a failure occurs in the main network. Shawky says CASE has had no problems since the implementation; and that although the previous network was good it did have occasional problems. Previously, CASE’s network operation was divided into four inter-connected network clusters. “It was rare but sometimes one of the networks would go down and even if our network is down once a year for five minutes that is too much for us,” says Shawky. The new network is designed to accommodate more than double the number of users. It guarantees very fast connections between CASE departments in both Cairo and Alexandria, as well as Misr for Settlement, the Clearance and Central Depository Company, the Capital Market Authority and related ministries such as Ministry of Investment and Ministry of Finance. The network allows users across different sites and buildings to update and read information in real time. On the wide area network, CASE use leased line to connect different sites, for example Cairo and Alexandria, but within sites there is typically more than one building, with Cairo having four and Alexandria two. On-site building connections are provided using Gigabit fibre optic cabling. The firm uses Foundry IronView network management system to monitor the complex network and high levels of traffic handled in its day-to-day running. “We have a lot of buildings and 120 trading brokers work with us in the trading hall,” says Kamal Baiely, IT manager at CASE. “Approximately 90 of these carry out remote trading and connect to our network depending on how many screens they use. For one screen it is necessary to set aside 64Kbits of bandwidth, so taking into account multiple screens per company and the large number of firms, that adds up to sizeable bandwidth demand,” he explains. This heavy network workload made the implementation of a robust, high performance infrastructure a must for CASE. Farook Majeed, regional director of Foundry Networks, was pleased with the win and believes it vindicates Foundry’s strong focus on high performance and resilience. “Total cost of ownership and investment protection are among the top purchasing criteria for enterprise deployments. Foundry’s FastIron systems make a compelling case to customers with savings in total cost of ownership while providing next generation feature set, performance and density at the industry’s most competitive prices,” says Majeed. CASE outlined the importance of support provided by Salec in making the Foundry bid stand out. “We have competed head-to-head with our competitors and our success is the result of our track record and experience in building and supporting mission critical networks,” says Mahmoud Soliman, president and CEO of Salec.||**||

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