2 page Case Study - Posted 4/16/2012
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Garanti Bank

Bank Boosts Efficiency by More Than 30 Percent and Performance by 70 Percent

Garanti Bank wanted to increase productivity, enhance insight, and save money while maintaining 99.999 percent availability. To achieve this, the bank is upgrading 500 databases to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and replacing mirrored configurations with SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn availability groups. As a result, the organization is boosting IT efficiency by more than 30 percent, reducing expenses, accelerating performance by 70 percent, and increasing agility and competitiveness.

Business Needs

To provide excellent service and comply with regulations, Turkey’s Garanti Bank must keep its systems available around the clock. Core banking services run on an IBM mainframe. About 500 mission-critical production databases—which run on Microsoft SQL Server data management software—interact with the mainframe to deliver banking and financial services.

* With SQL Server AlwaysOn, we expect to increase the efficiency of IT personnel by more than 30 percent. We will also reduce costs by increasing hardware utilization and streamlining IT processes. *

Umut Nazlica
Open System Databases
Garanti Technology

To facilitate high availability, databases are clustered and mirrored, which means half sit idle. If an outage occurs, engineers need about 20 minutes to manually switch settings on the network and connecting applications so that the database mirror becomes the primary system.

The bank wanted to automate system failover and use its mirror databases to support processes such as reporting. Most business intelligence (BI) was created by SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services based on database snapshots. Depending on the system, snapshots were updated every 1 to 24 hours. Although employees sought real-time BI, the bank could not afford to slow performance by allowing analysis of data on production systems or by creating more frequent snapshots.

The bank also wanted to give employees real-time insight into the auditing data generated by the main banking system such as transaction types, customer response times, and usage information for customers and employees. Before 2012, an application called CoolGenLog used SQL Server 2008 R2 Integration Services to collect and store the auditing information in a database running Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. The system stored about 150 gigabytes of compressed data in tables that had up to 5 billion rows. Each day, CoolGenLog collected about 30 million rows of new information, and SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services rendered about 30 reports used by most employees.

Garanti Bank wanted to update its infrastructure to speed performance, streamline processes, and give employees real-time insight. Because the bank already uses the Microsoft platform extensively, IT personnel sought a solution based on Microsoft SQL Server. “The Microsoft platform delivers mission-critical reliability and performance, and its solutions are easy to set up and maintain,” explains Umut Nazlica, Manager of Open System Databases at Garanti Technology, a bank subsidiary that manages IT.


In June 2011, the bank decided to upgrade its Microsoft databases to SQL Server 2012 to take advantage of new features such as contained databases to increase IT efficiency and xVelocity memory-optimized columnstore index to speed data access.

However, the bank was most interested in SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn, which engineers can use to replace mirrored configurations with availability groups that can support up to four copies of a production system. If necessary, any secondary copy can automatically take over for the primary without requiring engineers’ intervention. This is because applications can use a virtual network name to connect to SQL Server 2012. If the primary node changes, SQL Server updates the network and applications to automatically connect to the new primary node. Companies can also use secondary copies to manage some processes for production systems.

Rather than upgrading all of its systems at once, the bank first tested SQL Server 2012 on the database supporting CoolGenLog. In June 2011, IT staff deployed SQL Server 2012 Enterprise and the Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise operating system on three virtual servers at a site in Istanbul. Engineers configured the three nodes, which run on existing HP ProLiant BL680c G7 server computers, in an availability group that uses synchronous-commit mode to minimize data loss. IT personnel also configured the secondaries to support reporting and backups.

The new solution was implemented in January 2012. By June 2012, the bank will add a fourth disaster-recovery node to the availability group at a site about 500 kilometers away from the other nodes. In addition, Nazlica explains, “Later this year, we expect to upgrade our 500 production databases to SQL Server 2012 and replace mirrored configurations with availability groups in about three months time.”


By deploying SQL Server 2012, Garanti Bank can boost productivity by more than 30 percent, save money, speed systems by 70 percent, and increase agility and competitiveness.

Boosts Efficiency by More Than 30 Percent and Reduces Expenses

With SQL Server 2012, the bank can maintain 99.999 percent uptime, while streamlining processes and cutting costs. “With SQL Server AlwaysOn, we expect to increase the efficiency of IT personnel by more than 30 percent,” says Nazlica. “We will also reduce costs by increasing hardware utilization and streamlining IT processes.” Commenting on how the new solution will boost overall productivity, Nazlica adds, “With SQL Server 2012, employees can make better decisions because they will gain real-time insight into operations.”

Speeds Performance by 70 Percent

Employees can now obtain reports in about one-third the time. “It used to take up to 10 hours to render reports,” says Nazlica. “Now that we have migrated the system to SQL Server 2012, it takes just 3 hours.” The bank expects to realize similar performance increases after it upgrades other systems to SQL Server 2012. “Redirecting reporting requests to readable secondaries on SQL Server 2012 will deliver huge boosts in performance,” says Yalcin Gulas, Database Administrator at Garanti Technology. The bank also minimizes the risk of service disruptions. Nazlica says, “The use of virtual network names in SQL Server 2012 is a critical capability because we no longer lose time manually indicating to applications which server copy is primary on the network. Failover happens automatically.”

Facilitates Agility and Competitiveness

The bank is increasing IT flexibility and scalability. “Garanti Bank can improve service levels and become even more competitive by deploying SQL Server 2012 because, with it, the bank can achieve high availability and faster performance for less money and effort compared with our previous solution,” says Nazlica. “Taking advantage of readable secondaries also makes it easier to develop innovative services because the bank gains processing power without adding new hardware.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview

Organization Size: 17000 employees

Organization Profile

Garanti Bank is Turkey's second-largest private bank based on assets of U.S.$96 billion. The bank services 11 million customers from 918 domestic branches and 6 international sites.

  • HP ProLiant BL680c G7 server computers

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

Vertical Industries


Business Need
  • Business Intelligence and Reporting
  • Mission Critical
  • Business Critical

IT Issue
High Availability


Garanti Technology