In an effort to cut complexity and costs in its IT environment, Halkbank has plans to grow on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z on the IBM zEnterprise 196 system. Once fully implemented, the SUSE solution will simplify maintenance and deliver improved reliability and availability for critical banking services.
Halkbank is constantly seeking to strengthen its position as one of the country’s leading banks in terms of customer numbers, credit and deposit volumes and profitability. To set itself apart from market competition, the bank needs to offer customers high-quality products and rapid, secure transactions at an attractive price.
With customer numbers and transaction volumes growing each year, it is an ongoing challenge for Halkbank to ensure the highest possible service levels, while keeping administrative expenses and effort to a minimum.
“We use the latest technology to provide our customers with the best service, and run a large number of servers to support our day-to-day operations,” said Ayhan Yalkut, IT Division Manager at Halkbank Turkey.
“As we grew, we found that simplified and scalable infrastructure is the key goal rather than managing an expensive and complex infrastructure. We wanted to reduce the cost of providing IT services to users, without sacrificing availability or performance.”
For more than 30 years, Halkbank has relied on the strength and reliability of the IBM mainframe to support its key business applications. The bank realised that there was huge potential for reducing both licensing costs and management effort by consolidating more workloads onto its two IBM zEnterprise 196 (z196) servers.
Halkbank’s next step was to select an operating system to support its new application environment on the z196. After evaluating the different Linux distributions available for use on the mainframe, Halkbank chose SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z as the strategic platform for its application servers.
“SUSE offered good local support, which appealed to us as we did not have much experience with Linux environments,” said Yalkut. “We knew that the support would be there when we needed it, which gave us a lot of confidence. The strong collaboration between SUSE and IBM was very encouraging—SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z really is optimised for the IBM mainframe, so we will be able to take advantage of any new features as they are introduced.”
Currently, Halkbank is running one Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) processor on each of its IBM z196 servers. By combining robust IBM z/VM virtualization technology with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z, the bank can maximise its utilisation of the mainframe.
Choosing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z provides Halkbank with high levels of flexibility for the future. With the SUSE solution providing a broad, ever expanding application portfolio, the bank can efficiently run a wide range of applications with optimum performance.
“Our initial project has been centred around standardising our application servers, and we are planning to migrate more applications to the mainframe,” said Yalkut.
“We ultimately want to consolidate some of the services in our branch office servers to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. The SUSE Linux Enterprise platform’s combination of openness and resilience will make it ideal for supporting our entire business.”
Halkbank is still in the process of making the move to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z, and expects the solution to deliver considerable benefits once fully implemented. The bank anticipates that it will see significant savings on software licensing and development costs, and on future hardware investments.
Administrative effort will be reduced, thanks to the platform’s high availability and easy manageability.
“Implementing a single platform for our application server environment will play a huge role in reducing complexity in our IT environment,” said Yalkut. “YaST and other integrated tools within SUSE Linux Enterprise will help us simplify management and maintenance, and we will be able to resolve issues much faster.”
With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z, Halkbank will be better equipped to scale its IT environment to support future business growth and manage constant demand for new products, all while maintaining high levels of service to both internal and external users.
“SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z will help us to deliver even greater value to our customers and raise our service levels,” said Yalkut. “We will be able to bring new services to more customers faster, and ensure that we are always operating at the highest levels of efficiency.”