Server maintenance strategy for banking and financial institutions

One of the frequent questions I get asked by my clients is what to do about the balance of on-premises and cloud or managed service compute. The answer varies of course with each client, but one area remains the constant throughout, what to do with legacy technology. The term itself refers to technology (both software and hardware) that is, to a large extent, frozen in time and includes the likes of HP, Dell, EMC, IBM, Teradata, NetApp and Sun to name a few.

Frequently, this is down to the applications that are running on the technology that is either too expensive to update to run on later operating systems or have been developed internally and the skillsets to update the application simply no longer exist. From experience, in the past 12 months these legacy applications can account for 20-30% of an on-premises environment and represent a serious challenge in any transformation project.

In many cases, this leads to a fragmented approach where the traditional cloud vendors will accommodate current or immediately previous versions (n-1) and leave the older technologies in the client’s premises for them to handle.

Whilst this seems a logical approach, the problems arise when the clients have difficulty in retaining older staff due to retirement, are unable to attract younger talent to look after what is seen as old technology and of course the hardware itself becomes increasingly difficult for the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to maintain.

When the OEM falls short

The OEM quite naturally has a vested interest in updating technology as that is the focus of a manufacturer. They will be obviously reluctant to hold increasingly uncommon spare parts in expensive spares holdings.

With this background, Blue Chip has acquired an impressive reputation in working with clients as they migrate to newer technologies as well as supporting their aging on-premises technology with a spares holding that has on occasion been used by the OEM to supplement their own lack of parts. Of course, this approach does not alleviate the staffing constraints that are becoming all too common.

Why our approach to security pleases the banking industry

An increasing number of companies are now turning to us to support them by providing either a Remote Managed Service (RMS) or taking advantage of our ability to host older version levels within Blue Chip’s secure cloud.

In providing an RMS, the physical infrastructure remains with the client, but the day-to-day management of the operating system moves to us, with 130 skilled technical staff resource-managing not just remote clients, but our wholly owned data centres. We’re ready to provide a comprehensive support package to fit the needs of any company who approaches us.

As the day-to-day threats from ever more expert hackers increase exponentially (see Facebook as a current example), an increasing trend is the move away from on-premises client-owned technology to take advantage of the high security provided by companies like Blue Chip. With probably the largest IBM Power cloud in western Europe and with the most IBM Power Systems under contract in the UK, Blue Chip has developed a reputation for delivering a constantly updated and compliant environment.

Never a ‘one size fits all’ strategy

This year in particular, more and more companies are taking advantage of this capability and the reduction in space as companies retrench and faced with the increasing threats brought about by a skills drought both in maintaining and securing the essential services and data within the business makes this not only a logical route, but one that is economically affordable and satisfies the most rigorous risk register.

To conclude, the strategy we hear from clients seems clear; evaluate the current systems against internal capability and external threat, then consider the best place for the applications and data. It’s very definitely not a ‘one size fits all’ process, but for over 150 financial organisations in the UK, choosing Blue Chip was the right decision.

If you are considering what the best way forward for your IT estate should be, why not take advantage of the skills that we have within the financial services industry.


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