4-page Case Study - Posted 3/24/2008
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Australian Bank Improves File Services and Software Deployment for its Branch Offices
National Australia Bank (NAB) Group is a leading financial services organization with operations in multiple countries. Geographic dispersal of its offices has slowed regional application deployment in the Australian division, the bank’s largest business group. NAB sought to both simplify deployment and maximize the efficiency of its low-bandwidth wide area network. The bank also wanted to consolidate its IT infrastructure to help meet corporate goals for reducing power consumption. In response, NAB with Microsoft partner Avanade, is deploying Windows Server® 2008. The bank will use new features to improve deployment, and employees will have more reliable access to applications and data. In addition, NAB plans to take advantage of Windows Server 2008 technology to consolidate server hardware.
||We can improve the stability and reliability of our technology infrastructure with Windows Server 2008. As a result, we can significantly improve the user experience, both for our employees and our customers.
Head of Regional Architecture, Strategy and Transformation
National Australia Bank
National Australia Bank (NAB) Group is a global financial services organization with regional divisions in Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and Asia. NAB offers a range of financial products and services, which include retail banking, wealth management, risk management, and investment products. The publicly traded company reported total assets of AUD$564,634 million (approximately U.S.$520 million) in 2007, and it has more than 3.5 million customers in its personal banking sector alone. Based in Melbourne, Australia, the bank employs more than 40,000 people.
NAB faced several challenges in its IT landscape. The bank managed a highly dispersed technology environment, with approximately 30,000 employees working in 1,200 branch offices. The offices are spread across its Australian business division, and each one has between 10 and 50 employees. The bank centrally managed its diverse locations from Melbourne and wanted to streamline and automate processes such as application deployment.
However, simplifying remote deployment processes would solve only part of the problem. The bank deployed updates to branch offices over its wide area network (WAN), and portions of the network operated on a lower bandwidth. As a result, there could be delays in updating software and files at all locations, and employees might not have access to current resources when they needed them. “It has always been a challenge for us to distribute software to so many branch offices within a valid time frame,” says Nick Andrews, Head of Architecture, Technical Operations at National Australia Bank.
NAB also wanted a more standardized IT environment that would better support business goals. “Our goals included implementing a single, standard, regional desktop for National Australia Bank across multiple operating divisions,” says David Bryan, Head of Regional Architecture, Strategy and Transformation at National Australia Bank. “We also wanted a more agile platform to help us move change through the environment more efficiently, and, obviously, service the business a lot better.”
Finally, the bank wanted a smaller server footprint for both easier management and improved energy efficiency. John Stewart, Chief Executive Officer of National Australia Bank Group, made a commitment that NAB would be carbon neutral by 2010. The bank estimated that its IT environment accounted for more than 90 percent of the organization’s total energy expenditure. Thus, to help the company meet its goal, NAB hoped to consolidate hardware and reduce power consumption and greenhouse emissions.
To improve business agility, NAB began building an integrated technology environment that included the Windows Server® 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition operating system and a standardized desktop based on the Windows® XP Professional operating system. The solution replaced Novell NetWare server software and the Microsoft® Windows NT® operating system. The bank also implemented a centralized management and deployment strategy using software such as Remote Installation Services in Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Operations Manager 2005, and Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003.
||Windows Server 2008 improvements for software deployment will help us deliver software to our branch offices more efficiently.
Head of Architecture, Technical Operations, National
“We often use partners to help us establish the link between new, out-of-the-box product capabilities and how we make that work for our business”, says Geoff Wenborn, General Manager, Technology-Strategy and Transformation, at National Australia Bank. “For this technology upgrade, which spanned three years, we worked with Avanade, a global IT consultancy.”
The Microsoft Gold Certified Partner first served the bank as a technical advisor for the adoption of new Microsoft technologies, and then as a key partner in the IT transformation project that included the architecture, design, and deployment of Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. To take advantage of the momentum it had built in its deployment of the Microsoft products, the bank decided, with ongoing help from Avanade, to become an early adopter of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise.
In particular, NAB was interested in features, such as Distributed File System Replication, that it planned to use to improve stability and further simplify deployment. Distributed File System Replication is implemented as a file service in the File Services server role in Windows Server 2008. By using the service, NAB will be able to keep folders synchronized on multiple servers to increase data availability. The geographically dispersed data will be presented to employees in a single folder containing a series of subfolders. If an NAB employee tries to open a file and a branch server fails, the employee will be immediately and transparently connected to the closest available server with the same data.
The service also supports more efficient wide-scale deployment over a low-bandwidth WAN. With Distributed File System Replication, the bank will be able to quickly replicate applications to local distribution points. The data will be copied once across the WAN, instead of downloaded multiple times from remote sites. In addition, the deployment process can scale easily to several thousand nodes, or distribution points, because its configuration is stored in Active Directory®.
NAB will also use the Read-Only Domain Controller (RODC) feature in Windows Server 2008 to ease management and mitigate security risks. An RODC includes a read-only copy of the domain database. Clients log on to the RODC, but they are unable to make changes that could affect the Active Directory forest. ”NAB can use Windows Server 2008 Read-Only Domain Controllers to provide authentication services to secured areas of the bank without compromising on security, and thereby meet some of its stringent security and compliance requirements.” says Mac Ghani, Architect Lead at Avanade Australia.
After identifying the features it wanted to focus on first, the Avanade and NAB team began upgrading the bank’s Active Directory forest on October 2007. NAB reports that Windows Server 2008 is integrating smoothly with existing processes and technologies. For example, the bank successfully deployed several Windows Server 2008 Active Directory domain controllers by using in-place upgrade processes. NAB is also satisfied that the new solution works well with the applications it uses in its branch environment. “Overall, working with Microsoft, Avanade, and Intel has been a great, positive experience for the bank,” says Wenborn.
The domain controllers were installed on HP ProLiant DL580 and DL380 server computers with 64-bit, Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors. These servers provide scalability of up to eight 64-bit cores with memory support for up to 64 gigabytes to make server consolidation possible. Windows Server 2008 support for 64-bit architecture was an important consideration for NAB because it wanted to take advantage of the improved scalability to consolidate servers and reduce energy consumption.
By simplifying application delivery to branch offices with Windows Server 2008, National Australia Bank will be able to deploy software faster and to more locations. Improved software distribution will help bank employees work more efficiently and deliver better customer service as a result. In addition, with Windows Server 2008, the bank can transform its IT environment faster and more effectively to meet changing business needs.
||By becoming an early adopter of Windows Server 2008, we can put our organization ahead of the curve. Now we can build an infrastructure that is not only more stable, but more agile as well.
Head of Regional Architecture, Strategy and Transformation
National Australia Bank
Distributed File System Replication in Windows Server 2008 will significantly speed wide-scale application distribution. The bank is already using the new solution to simplify deployment. For instance, instead of managing multiple installation images, the bank is building installation packages for both its client and server operating systems that include a single image and configuration file.
“Windows Server 2008 improvements for software deployment will help us deliver software to our branch offices more efficiently,” says Andrews. “With a more standardized deployment process, we can upgrade applications with the least amount of effort.”
Improves Productivity and Customer Service
A less complex IT environment is an important goal for the IT team at NAB, and one of the biggest benefits will be the ability to deliver better IT services to its employees. The team anticipates it will have fewer problems and will be able to solve them more quickly, and employees will have access to the most current applications and information when they need them. As a result, NAB employees will be able to work more efficiently and reduce time-to-market. “We can improve the stability and reliability of our technology infrastructure with Windows Server 2008,” says Bryan. “As a result, we can significantly improve the user experience, both for our employees and our customers.”
Increases Business Agility
Windows Server 2008 is helping the bank address its immediate concerns, but it will also help NAB meet new challenges more easily. For example, improved scalability and server consolidation reinforce the bank’s commitment to significantly improving its energy efficiency. “By becoming an early adopter of Windows Server 2008, we can put our organization ahead of the curve,” says Bryan. “Now we can build an infrastructure that is not only more stable, but more agile as well.”
For More Information
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For more information about Avanade products and services, call (61) 2 9005 5900 or visit the Web site at:
For more information about National Australia Bank products and services, call (61) 13 22 65 or visit the Web site at:
Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008, with built-in Web and virtualization technologies, enables you to increase the reliability and flexibility of your server infrastructure. New virtualization tools, Web resources, and security enhancements help you save time, reduce costs, and provide a platform for a dynamic and optimized datacenter. Powerful new tools like IIS 7.0, Server Manager, and Windows PowerShell™, allow you to have more control over your servers and streamline Web, configuration, and management tasks. Advanced security and reliability enhancements like Network Access Protection and the Read-Only Domain Controller option for Active Directory Domain Services harden the operating system and help protect your server environment to ensure you have a solid foundation on which to build your business.
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Document published March 2008