First Bankers Trust: Strengthening Reliability in the Hosting Environment

A regional commercial bank with 10 branches in western Illinois, First Bankers Trust also provides hosting services for a community bank in northeast Missouri. To reduce risk and support compliance, the bank’s IT leadership needed to strengthen the reliability of its two data centers to improve application access. Burwood Group was engaged to design and implement a solution to add full high-availability (HA) and redundancy for improved business performance. 

 

The Challenge: Multiple Points of Potential Failure, Multiple Opportunities for Disruption

With two data centers serving banks across two states, the First Bankers Trust’s application infrastructure was at risk of overload, with multiple potential points of failure. Most applications were hosted on a single server and the hosting environment was not fully high availability. A hardware failure or natural disaster, such as a fire or tornado, resulted in downtime, disruption, and potential security risks because the IT team had to manually transfer applications to a different server. 

The Solution: Continuous Communications for Smooth IT Implementation

 By replacing unreliable system architecture with a more comprehensive solution, the bank now provides high availability, reliability, automated failover, and the ability to address server failures quickly, without impacting user workflow.

By replacing unreliable system architecture with a more comprehensive solution, the bank now provides high availability, reliability, automated failover, and the ability to address server failures quickly, without impacting user workflow.

Burwood Group was selected for its network security and technology strategy expertise to architect a solution that would provide redundancy and high availability for critical application servers in the primary data center. In addition, the bank turned to Burwood to complete failover capabilities in the secondary data center to expedite disaster recovery. 

Burwood’s solution was built on an existing Cisco 9000 networking infrastructure, which included FlexPod-based Cisco UCS. The infrastructure allowed First Bankers Trust to add redundancy for its internal and hosted applications. Burwood used Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers to virtualize the environment and run Citrix Netscaler and HA features, including global server load balancing (GSLB) to automatically transfer application loads between servers without disrupting user workflow. Burwood’s solution included custom health monitors that constantly validate functionality of each server. If a server fails, users are either automatically transferred to the redundant server or, if needed, the IT team manually executes the transfer. 

Working collaboratively with the bank’s IT department, Burwood consultants drove the solution from gap analysis through delivery and training, ensuring that the First Bankers Trust team could effectively administer the solution in the long term.  

 
Burwood Group solved our core challenge of data center overload, ensuring that our employees and hosting clients could perform their work without disruption. In addition to building in high availability for our internal applications and hosting services, Burwood’s strategic approach and firm understanding of the financial services industry gave us complete confidence in the solution.
— John Predmore AVP, Network Administrator, First Bankers Trust Company
 

The Outcome: Seamless Connectivity and Enhanced Reliability

The strategic decision to virtualize and centralize First Bankers Trust’s computing into redundant data centers with redundant network connectivity to every location has significantly improved systems uptime for end users and bank customers. By replacing unreliable system architecture with a more comprehensive solution, the bank now provides high availability, reliability, automated failover, and the ability to address server failures quickly, without impacting user workflow. The updated architecture and infrastructure also provide robust security, an important credential for compliance with FDIC regulations for hosting financial applications.

In early 2016, First Bankers Trust was recognized with an Innovations in Technology award from the Illinois Bankers Association for implementing “innovative and scalable business continuity and disaster recovery solutions.” 

Burwood Group Services:

  • Network Security

  • Technology Strategy

  • Disaster Recovery