Microsoft Platform Powers Mission-Critical Operations in Financial Services
Sept. 19, 2011
Financial services institutions improve the dependability, performance and flexibility of their mission-critical workloads with Microsoft platform.

TORONTO — Sept. 19, 2011 — Today at SIBOS 2011, Microsoft Corp. announced that a growing number of financial services customers are benefiting from the significant gains in agility, operational efficiency and cost savings achieved by moving to the high-performance Windows Server operating system and Microsoft SQL Server database.

These customers have not only reduced the cost of running their core processes, they have also realized substantial benefits by making these core processes part of a dynamic IT infrastructure that enables them to understand and serve customers better, bring new products to market more quickly, continually improve operations, and collaborate with an evolving set of partners in their global value chains.

“Microsoft is making a long-term commitment to supporting the mission-critical business applications of our financial services customers,” said Karen Cone, general manager, Worldwide Financial Services, Microsoft. “Our customers are testament to this commitment to delivering a solid foundation for mission-critical workloads, with the dependability, performance and flexibility required to achieve sustainable competitive advantage in today’s financial services industry.”

Legacy System Modernization

Skandinavisk Data Center (SDC), which services the banking businesses of more than 150 financial institutions in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the Faroe Islands, is expecting to save $20 million annually by moving its core banking system from its mainframe platform to Windows Server and SQL Server. With client growth and cost reduction at the forefront of SDC’s business imperatives, it required a solution to help minimize spending while retaining and gaining new member banks. By migrating from the mainframe to a Windows platform, it is estimated that SDC will reduce operational costs for its core banking system by 30 percent, giving it a competitive edge. The migration of online transactions in the core banking system was completed this fall, reducing operational costs by more than 20 percent annually. As the next and final step, the systems database will be migrated from DB2 to SQL Server.

In addition, with partner Temenos Group AG, Microsoft is supporting banks across the globe with the TEMENOS T24 (T24) core banking system optimized for SQL Server. Microsoft and Temenos recently completed a high-performance benchmark that measured the high-end scalability of T24 on SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 Datacenter. The model bank environment, created to reflect tier-one retail banking workloads, consisted of 25 million accounts and 15 million customers across 2,000 branches. At peak performance, the system processed more than 3,400 transactions per second in online testing and averaged more than 5,200 interest accrual and capitalizations per second during close of business processing. The testing demonstrated near-linear scalability (95 percent) in building up toward the final hardware configuration. Banks such as Sinopac in Taiwan and Rabobank Australia and New Zealand are among the first to benefit from expertise and capabilities developed at the Microsoft and Temenos competency center. Furthermore, Microsoft and Temenos recently announced that Mexican financial institutions are live on T24 on Microsoft’s cloud platform, Windows Azure. Banks that select T24 on a Microsoft platform for on-premises deployment today can therefore be confident of a road map to the cloud.

In the past, only mainframes could run and maintain mission-critical trading solutions that require a lot from the database infrastructure: high-availability, redundancy, transaction and data integrity, consistency, predictability, and the balancing of proactive prevention with effective recovery. One such solution, the SunGard Front Arena, is a global capital markets solution that delivers electronic trading and position control across multiple asset classes and business lines. Integrating sales and distribution, trading and risk management, and settlement and accounting, Front Arena helps capital markets and businesses around the world improve performance, transparency and automation. Front Arena was designed to handle very large data flows and, in high-volume environments such as equities exchange trading, Front Arena customers routinely enter as many as 130,000 trades per day. As a result, in March and April 2011, engineers from SunGard and Microsoft worked together to confirm the performance and scalability of Front Arena on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 at the Microsoft Platform Adoption Center in Redmond, Wash. The team designed a benchmark test to emulate a real-world, enterprise-class financial workload, running the software on industry-standard hardware typically found in datacenters today. Front Arena running on SQL Server 2008 R2 exceeded the goals set by the team, confirming that SQL Server 2008 R2 delivers the performance, scalability and value companies demand from their trading platform.

Mitigating Risk

The Financial Crime Risk Management solution suite from Fiserv Inc., built on the Microsoft platform, provides a comprehensive portfolio of fraud risk mitigation and anti-money laundering capabilities. AML Manager, a key component of the solution suite, will adopt the newest release of Microsoft SQL Server, code-named “Denali,” in the future.

Transforming the Reconciliation Process

Saxo Bank, a specialist in trading and investment, has determined that its transaction volumes have increased with the help of SunGard’s Ambit Reconciliation solution, deployed on Windows Server and SQL Server. The solution provides a real-time matching and reconciliation platform on which Saxo Bank has consolidated its reconciliation and exception management operations across all trading platforms at the bank. According to Saxo Bank, it is now able to process more transactions per day compared with four years ago, with fewer staff to manage the increase in transaction volumes.

Improving Payments Efficiency and Reliability

In a recent report based on its Uptime Meter, a six-month availability aggregate, Stratus demonstrated that its fault-tolerant servers running Windows Server and S1 Corp.’s payments solutions are achieving “six nines” (99.9999 percent) of availability. Both hardware- and software-related incidents are included in the measurement. The combination of mission-critical technologies from S1, Stratus and Microsoft provides a compelling alternative to more costly mainframe solutions.

The success of Microsoft’s mission-critical strategy depends not only on the technology and guidance provided by Microsoft, but also on the products and services provided by its large ecosystem of partners. A new generation of solutions from independent software vendors — across banking, capital markets and insurance — combined with Microsoft’s development tools and technologies, is now delivering the dynamic environment needed to realize the benefits of next-generation, mission-critical platforms from on-premises to the cloud.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

Read More: