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To Serve and Protect

Bank invests in Stratus server to support systems consolidation and business continuity.

Following merger and acquisition activity, Texas State Bank was left with disparate ATM/EFT (electronic funds transfer) systems supported by two data centers. In December 2002, the McAllen, Texas-based bank decided to consolidate the systems on S2 Systems' (Plano, Texas) OpeN/2 payment transaction platform. But before the institution could streamline its operations, it had to shore up its infrastructure.

One of Texas State Bank's (TSB; $5.8 billion in assets) data centers relied on a mainframe system that had limited functionality; the other was linked to a Diebold (North Canton, Ohio) controller that was being discontinued. In addition, the Diebold product didn't support a new message protocol that was mandated by the PULSE Network, the EFT association to which the bank belongs.

"We were moving off a Diebold product in one center and a mainframe product in the other and combining both onto an OpeN/2 product," explains Gomer Jones, senior vice president of TSB's data center, an in-house data processing service provider for Texas State Bank that also serves 27 other independent banks statewide. "Both of our products were older products, and neither of them were fully featured enough to run the entire customer base," he states. "We needed a server [on which] to run the new platform."

To meet PULSE Network requirements, TSB began searching for a fault-tolerant server in January 2003 that would remain running at least 98.5 percent of the time, even during system upgrades and technical changes, relates Jones. "We wanted hardware that would provide close to five nines [available 99.999 percent of the time] of service," he says. "We wanted something that was completely redundant so if one of the processors went down we could keep running." The server also had to support PULSE's messaging protocol, Jones notes.

Before considering other vendors, the bank's data center zeroed in on Stratus Technologies (Maynard, Mass.) and purchased the vendor's ftServer 3300 in late January 2003, according to Jones. Stratus installed the server, which uses a Windows operating system. TSB created new configuration files for the ATMs and the bank went live with the new server in April 2003, Jones adds.

On the Right Track

Before purchasing Stratus' ftServer 3300, TSB also considered leveraging multiple Dell servers to run the new OpeN/2 software. "With the new software, we had to get something to run it on," Jones says. "We were looking at using multiple regular servers that were tied together or clustering regular servers together, but our experience with clustering was unpleasant," he adds. "Clustering took a lot more managing than the Stratus server."

The decision to migrate to the OpeN/2 system and the Stratus server proved fortuitous. Since the transition, TSB has experienced strong growth of ATM, debit and credit volumes, according to Jones. In December 2004 alone, the bank processed nearly 3 million transactions with the new system, a 50 percent increase in volume from December '03, he relates, adding that the new technology was a key factor in the growth.

"If we hadn't implemented [OpeN/2 and the Stratus server], we would have been dead in the water trying to use either one of the products we had," Jones says.

Snapshot

Institution: Texas State Bank (TSB; McAllen, Texas).

Assets: $5.8 billion.

Business Challenge: Support consolidation of ATM/EFT systems with a fault-tolerant server.

Solution: Stratus Technologies' (Maynard, Mass.) ft Server3000.

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