Feature

Use mainframes for backups

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Put big iron to work
Buffalo, NY-based M&T Bank is a major regional bank with branches throughout New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. The bulk of M&T Bank's core processing takes place on an IBM mainframe. Storage is managed on an EMC Symmetrix array that supports more than 11TB of data and is connected to the enterprise via a 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 in four clusters.

Before M&T Bank was able to centralize its backup and storage operations to the mainframe, it 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 Inc. 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 became unmanageable," says Ronald Strozyk, manager of M&T Bank's Enterprise Storage Management Group.

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," says Strozyk. "Backups often fail, and that doesn't bode too well for being able to successfully restore or recover servers."

In addition,

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DR procedures were put in the hands of individual departments. "If the user or department wanted the ability to recover data in a reasonable amount of time, they had to do their own backup," explains Strozyk. "Recovering data from the distributed backup system could take days," he adds. "The departments were responsible for pretty much their own recovery of individual files that were inadvertently deleted, or may have been lost or corrupted." In an effort to get its arms around these gaps, M&T Bank delegated these responsibilities to its mainframe data center, which was experienced in automated, unattended backup procedures.

M&T Bank deployed FDR/Upstream/SOS and related tools to consolidate storage management across its departments. The benefits of the mainframe-based storage approach are tangible. "We have absorbed backup tasks into our enterprise storage department," says Strozyk, "and provide a reliable backup and a verifiable recovery process, which is something we didn't have before."

This was first published in November 2005

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