As M&T Bank of Buffalo, NY, completes its acquisition of Allfirst Bank of Baltimore, MD, the newly combined institution is growing into one of the top-20 largest banks in the U.S. M&T Bank’s asset base is jumping from $33 billion to $49 billion, and the financial institution is adding 262 branches to its current network of 470. The acquisition also adds some 5,000 employees, increasing the bank’s workforce to about 14,000 tellers, customer service representatives, managers, and technical support personnel.
Meeting the Challenge
Combining two organizations of such size, of course, is challenging on many fronts. One issue M&T Bank doesn’t have to worry about, however, is additional backup and storage requirements that arise as it integrates Allfirst’s IT systems into its operations. That’s because M&T Bank already has a centralized enterprise storage management system in place, administered from its mainframe data center. The tools employed, FDR/UPSTREAM and UPSTREAM/SOS from Innovation Data Processing, are an intelligent storage management system featuring enterprisewide backup and recovery for open systems servers to z/OS- or OS/390- attached mainframe storage. “We expect to quickly integrate Allfirst’s systems into our backup and restore facility,” said Ronald Strozyk, manager of the Enterprise Storage Management Group at M&T Bank.
FDR/UPSTREAM backs up, manages, and restores data from workstations and servers from across the enterprise to all brands of mainframe-attached tape and disk storage subsystems. Data is transferred over SNA/APPC, TCP/IP, and local and wide area network connections. UPSTREAM/ SOS is designed to back up and restore open-systems data stored exclusively on EMC Symmetrix 5000-series and 8000-series storage subsystems. UPSTREAM/SOS transfers data between the Symmetrix and the MVS host across the mainframe’s native ESCON or FICON channel connection.
The bulk of M&T Bank’s core processing takes place on an IBM 9672-R66 mainframe, which is being upgraded to a z900 2064-1C4 system. Storage is managed within the EMC Symmetrix disk array, which supports more than 11TB of data and is connected to the enterprise via a Storage Area Network (SAN). Most of the bank’s data originates from more than 275 Novell and Windows 2000/NT servers, a large number of which are configured as clusters of four servers. The bank also maintains a number of Unix servers running Sun Solaris and AIX. M&T Bank is considered one of the country’s strongest and most highly regarded regional banks, with branches throughout New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia, as well as a comprehensive set of channels via ATM, telephone, and Internet-based banking. In December 2002,
M&T Bank shareholders approved the acquisition of Allfirst Bank from Allied Irish Banks PLC. The acquisition, completed in the first quarter of 2003, will expand M&T Bank to approximately 700 offices throughout the mid-Atlantic region, placing M&T Bank among the 20 largest banks in the U.S.
Efforts are also under way to link Allfirst’s distributed systems — which consist of Windows 2000/NT, NetWare, Solaris, NCR, HP-UX, and Red Hat Linux servers — to M&T’s mainframe data center running FDR/UPSTREAM. “Allfirst had two data centers in the Baltimore region, and our plans are to keep one of those as a disaster recovery site, at a minimum,” Strozyk said. “This provides some new options as to how we architect and set up UPSTREAM.”
CENTRALIZING BACKUP STORAGE
Before M&T Bank was able to centralize its backup and storage operations to the mainframe, the financial institution faced many of the same issues encountered by companies with rapidly proliferating networks of distributed servers across departments. The bank relies on PC servers to support its Novell GroupWise enterprise e-mail and messaging infrastructure, as well as key customer service functions. “Our server farms got bigger and more spread out across New York state. Things just became quite unmanageable,” Strozyk recounted.
The institution’s network computing group, which oversees PC and Unix system deployments, had some backup and storage management solutions in place, but information from various servers was too scattered. “There were reliability issues. Backups — no matter where they are — often fail,” he explained. “We just didn’t have a good monitoring mechanism in place where someone could identify if a backup failed, and take corrective action.” It often took days of tracking and analysis to determine if and where glitches were occurring. “Administrators had to pour through hundreds of pages of backup return codes and messages to verify that the backups were successful,” Strozyk said. “That didn’t bode too well for being able to successfully restore or recover servers.”