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disaster proof
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General Banking and Trust Company upgrades to disaster-tolerant OpenVMS clusters

When General Banking and Trust Company Limited (GBT), one of Hungary’s leading financial institutions, decided to upgrade its OpenVMS production environment, it demanded a solution that would deliver not only high performance and capacity for growth, but also greater availability and more disaster tolerance. After carefully evaluating a range of options from HP, IBM, and EMC, the Budapest-based bank decided to deploy a production site of two OpenVMS AlphaServer GS1280 systems (with eight processors and 32GB memory) and a five-terabyte (TB) StorageWorks XP1024 disk array.

The main location is connected via fibre to a back-up site with a single identical AlphaServer GS1280 system and XP1024 providing the flexibility to address a server failure without initiating a full disaster scenario. The dual-site configuration performs as a single OpenVMS cluster with a unified system image, simplifying management and enabling easy access to storage.

For almost 15 years, GBT has relied on OpenVMS to support its critical operations, most recently using SYMBOLS™, an integrated retail banking solution by System Access. "We have a long tradition of using OpenVMS—it delivers the performance, scalability, and reliability that we need," says Tibor Nagy, GBT director of Information Technology. "By moving to the latest AlphaServer technology, we expect to enjoy OpenVMS at a new level of performance and reliability."

In its new disaster-tolerant solution, GBT is using two technologies to ensure that both sites will have current and complete data for business-critical applications. The AlphaServer systems at each site are using host-based volume shadowing to mirror OpenVMS and Oracle system data. Application databases are replicated in real-time with Continuous Access XP, which provides a direct interface between the system software and the disk arrays. "Continuous Access enables the bank to meet stringent requirements for data currency with extremely fast failover," says Mr. Nagy. In addition, the bank is using two ADVA Dense Wave Division Multiplexing optical termination units as a cost-effective system to transport high-speed data, storage, and voice applications. "We are very happy with the safety and stability of our upgraded environment," adds Mr. Nagy.

To maximize disaster tolerance, GBT plans to deploy a second AlphaServer GS1280 system in its failover cluster in 2005. "These new AlphaServer systems give us plenty of headroom to grow, and we eventually expect to move to Integrity servers in the future," says Mr. Nagy. "When we analyzed our needs, taking into account the goals we want to achieve, we realized that HP delivers a very robust platform that supports OpenVMS now and into the future."