CBA simplifies its clusters, minus Veritas

Bank's executive architect outlines benefits of standardisation

Australian bank CBA has cleaned Veritas out of the clusters it uses to deliver its front office systems, opting for an Oracle-only strategy.

Jon Waldron, CBA’s executive architect of enterprise IT, told an audience at Oracle’s OpenWorld conference, in San Francisco last week, that while the bank had stayed with Veritas through an upgrade to Oracle 10.1 in 2007, 2008 has seen a further upgrade that has seen the software retired on its clusters. Veritas, a provider of storage management software, merged with Symantec in 2005.

Speaking in a session about the “Oracle-only” approach to clusters, Waldron said there are no plans to roll the technology out for New Zealand subsidiary ASB, but that the expertise is being shared.

Clusters are groups of computers linked together and managed as if they are one to provide increased computing power.

Waldron said the front office system, CommSee, was written as a small CRM application in VB over Oracle 8i in 2003 before it was decided to scale it massively across the organisation. It now consists of 18 million lines of .Net and HTML code delivered to 3,500 screens.

Running on Sun Solaris hardware, it now has eight nodes running on Oracle 10.2.03 and standardised on Oracle’s Clusterware throughout the environment.

Waldron said the Veritas Storage Foundation for Oracle Real Application Clusters (SFRAC) is fine in isolation, but from the 10g database onwards issues emerged.

SFRAC had its own set of bugs, he said, as any software does. But the more systems you have in place the more bugs you have to deal with — and that means more complexity when it comes to patches and upgrades. The extra vendor and support organisation in the mix also leads to more complicated problem resolution.

The upgrade required a shift in file system from Veritas’s VxFS to Oracle’s Automatic Storage Management (ASM) and a migration over three weeks, with an interim state in which both systems were attached to the same environment.

Waldron said the new environment uses mostly default settings and is stable and running well.

• O’Neill travelled to OpenWorld as a guest of Oracle

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