Monday Aug 04, 2008

Sun / Avaloq Banking Platform

About Avaloq

avaloq.pngThe Avaloq Banking System is an innovative and integrated IT platform which embraces modern banking practices. It is an ideal solution for asset managers, plus private, retail and commercial banks, wanting to increase their business efficiency and intending to protect their competitive advantage and long-term profitability. Avaloq's modular and open architecture provides comprehensive functionality, covering a variety of banking products, and enables the optimisation and break down of the value chain. Their flexible design allows financial institutions to adapt swiftly to changing market conditions, including the ability to rapidly launch new products and implement new business models.

Avaloq has a very fast growing customer base and is one of the most innovative banking solutions available today!

Sun's Avaloq Infrastructure

M5000_Front_Bird.pngThe Sun Infrastructure Landscape suits perfectly the Avaloq Banking requirements. We have discovered that the M-Series Servers are the ideal systems for a high scalable Avaloq Platform.

The M5000 System is the most frequently used Sun server for Avaloq implementations.

The major reason for that is it's internal scalability and realiability. No matter if it is for the project phase (implementation, integration, testing) or for production, the M5000 matches most requirements from our customers.

With the latest announcements of the Sparc 64 VII CPUs, the M-Series got a tremendous performance boost. The performance/power efficiency has been increased by 50% while the core density has been doubled! 32x Sparc 64 VII Cores at 2.4 Ghz within one single server! With todays 4GB DIMM's the server scales up to 256GB RAM. Nearly unlimited I/O expandibility delivers high performance connectivity to storage and network. Up to two internal I/O Units can be configured for the M5000, while each I/O Unit delivers:
  • 4 x8 PCI-E Slots
  • 1 64-bit PCI-X Slot
  • 2 SAS Disk Bays
  • 2 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
If this is not enough, you can attach up to four external I/O Units, while each external I/O Unit has two houses. Each house can deliver 6 PCI-E Slots or 6 PCI-X Slots. In case of a full expansion of the system, you could for example have up to 32 PCI-E slots ...... Enough? I think so.

Now that we know which system is mostly used for Avaloq implementations, let's figure out why and what the sizing rules are!

Typical Sun Avaloq Sizings

The following figure shows a possible implementation scenario for a medium sized bank:

Typical_Avaloq_Implementation_Medium_Bank.png

A Typical SUN Avaloq Implementation is fragmented into three different areas:
  1. The Production Servers and Integration Servers are preferably identical.
  2. The Project, Development and Test Server needs in 99% of the cases more compute and memory power than the Production and Integration Environment. This is related to the amount of databases being used.
The Avaloq Project Phase is the most demanding phase for a server. During this time multiple Avaloq instances are running, for example to verify the implementation or to test various features and modifications.

In most of the cases such Avaloq instances are running in separate Solaris Zones, a builtin and free Solaris feature. In combination with Jumpstart, a complete Avaloq instance can be brought online from scratch within a few minutes!

High Availability Production System

As banking applications are mostly core for every Bank, you wouldn't like to have any interruptions at all. BUT, as systems, networks, storage and datacenters can fail even when they have the most complete RAS (Reliablility, Availability and Servicability) stack, it is wise to have a good failback scenario.

The figure bellow illustrates a possible HA implementation scenario. Certainly this could ba also expanded.

HA_Avaloq_Implementation.png

Avaloq Sizing Callenge

Depending on what kind of bank you are, the size of your production system may vary. Why? There are two major types of banks on the market:
  • Retail Banks
    A retail bank traditionaly has much more cashier transactions per day than a private bank thus causing a higher system load.

  • Private Banks
    Traditionaly a private bank doesn't have as many cashiers transactions than a retail bank but it has much more STEX (Stock Exchange) transactions.
It is wise to work together with Avaloq and Sun to design the optimal sizing for your specific needs. Avaloq and Sun have done many sizings together, and this is a major reason why our customers are happy!

The performance bottleneck!

6122-babasse-DiskipperLite3D.pngAs most DB oriented applications, also Avaloq implementations are higly dependent on the underlying storage subsystem if it is not capable of storing the transactions fast enough or creating complex reports.

The good message is, that Sun has the right answer in case you have to deal with such kind of problems. Sun does not only deliver the fastest midrange and high end storage subsystems, we also have the right answer when we start talking about Solid State Disks (SSDs)

One of the first operations to increase performance can be that you place the Oracle Redo-Log on Solid State Disks. Also a very Dense Solid State Disk could cover the complete Avaloq implementation. The disks subsystem will no longer be the bottle neck!

Keep in mind that in terms of performance increase, the NAND based solid state disk market is today growing faster than the CPU market. You can find more about the SSD technology here.
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