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Running Ahead of the Pack

To gain competitive advantage, Union Bank of California is constantly seeking improvement through technology innovation. Next on its list: server consolidation, network upgrades and imaging solutions.

Technology alone cannot provide competitive advantage, at least not for long. To continue to realize the benefits that technology can offer, banks must formulate an enterprisewide strategy, continually monitor systems performance, explore emerging technologies and integrate new solutions with existing platforms. Complacency precludes progress.

San Francisco-based Union Bank of California ($47 billion in assets) isn't resting on its achievements. After a year in which the bank increased its focus on enterprise monitoring and performance and improved its disaster recovery abilities, UBOC plans to move ahead with a number of additional technology initiatives in 2005 to improve its competitive position, according to Chip Hernandez, the bank's chief technology officer. Among its planned projects, the bank will focus on server consolidation, enabling an IP network and leveraging image capture capabilites.

Before the bank's 2004 efforts, UBOC monitored systems at the infrastructure and application levels, Hernandez says, but the bank initiated a wholesale review of its existing technology and the additional benefits the financial institution could gain with new technology investments.

"We identified systems to keep, systems to eliminate and systems to add," explains Hernandez. "The result was an enterprise vision backed up by an architectural framework. The benefit will be a near real-time ability to not only detect problems but also be able to more rapidly assess root cause and remediation approach, which ultimately translates to greater customer support," he says.

As part of its enterprise vision, UBOC implemented a direct matrix architecture (DMX) data storage solution from Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC to improve its processing and disaster recovery preparedness. According to Hernandez, the bank realized 30 percent improvements in capacity and performance, as well as reductions in costs.

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