Source: Cisco Systems
Cisco Systems today announced that Arpège, the information technology (IT) services division of France's third-largest bank, Groupe Caisse d'Epargne, is deploying a Cisco Wide Area File Services solution across five technical centres in southern and eastern France as part of an overall Cisco Data Center Network Architecture.
Cisco collaborated with Cisco Gold Certified Partner Telindus on the solution, which is expected to help the bank save 50 percent of wide-area network infrastructure costs by reducing the need for upgrades to high-bandwidth connections used to share data across the WAN.
In a move to consolidate data from five locations into a centralised data centre, Arpège has implemented the Cisco Wide Area File Services solution to help reduce Arpège's server estate, as well as address compliance issues raised by Basel II. Arpège delivers IT services to Group Caisse d'Epargne, which provides banking services to 26 million customers and has 4,700 branches and 5,300 ATMs.
The Wide Area File Services solution, part of the Cisco Application Networking Services product portfolio, helps improve data-access times for users over a WAN and offers improvements in data sharing, data management and security. While consolidating several locations into a centralised data center, Arpège still needs to access documents and information from all parts of the business, and the Cisco Wide Area File Services solution is expected to also make it easier to access data previously restricted to specific locations. The solution also offers network transparency for ease of deployment and management
David Gosselin, technical support manager at Arpège, said, "The Cisco technology means that we have all the lower cost and data management efficiency benefits of centralised data control, but we're still able to give users local area network-like access speeds to data and applications across the wide-area network. Without the Cisco Wide Area File Services technology, users could experience long delays in accessing this data, which could have a significant impact on productivity. We chose Cisco because its WAFS system is the most advanced and because Cisco technology is very reliable, as well as easy to use, deploy and manage."
Arpège expects to improve data management and protection further because data previously distributed across the five regional centers will now be held in a central data center. From this central point it is simpler to carry out activities like regular and real-time data backup, as well as apply security policies and data encryption. Consolidating data from the technical centers will also help enable Arpège to monitor and manage more easily which users can access different types of data.
Arpège is using the same quality-of-service (QoS)-enabled WAN links to deliver multiple services to the regional centers. In addition to Cisco Wide Area File Services, Arpège is now delivering Cisco Unified Communications services to employees in remote locations over a converged network infrastructure. By taking advantage of Layer 3 routing capabilities and QoS on the WAN link, Arpège is able to set priorities for each application and service delivered over the WAN without the need to create dedicated tunnels to support file services. All Web-based applications, transactional systems and backup services also run over this WAN infrastructure.
The Cisco solution at Arpège will use Cisco Wide Area Application Engines within the remote centers for data consolidation linked by managed WAN links to core wide-area engines in the central data center. The Cisco Data Center Network Architecture is underpinned by Cisco MDS 9000 Multilayer Switches, together with Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series Switches and Cisco PIX firewalls within the central data center to support effective backup and replication over a storage area network. Cisco LAN switching and integrated security within the remote technical centers supports data delivery and security.
"Many large businesses like Groupe Caisse d'Epargne need branch offices to continue to deliver services to customers in local areas, but this branch office business infrastructure brings with it two IT infrastructure major challenges. Firstly, there exists a potential IT cost and complexity associated with managing local file servers and storage resources in distributed sites," said Phil Andrews, operations director, Data Center, for Cisco Systems in European Markets. "Secondly, the speed of file and data access across a wide-area network is typically poor because of inherent network latency, which leads to user dissatisfaction if the local servers are removed."
"As few organisations can afford to employ local IT staff in tens, hundreds or thousands of branch locations, many are actively seeking a solution to deliver LAN speed access, but centralise the files and applications into a consolidated data center to realise cost savings," Andrews added.
Cisco Wide Area File Services software helps enterprises benefit from centralised storage and reduce the total cost of ownership while maintaining local file service performance for branch office users. For example, Cisco WAFS reduces the need for redundant file and print servers, as well as lowering the licensing costs and management of server software and backup software and media costs.