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Standard Chartered PLC chooses PRIMERGY BladeFrame Powered by Egenera from Fujitsu Siemens Computers for its Core Retail-Banking Application

PRIMERGY BladeFrame's unique virtualisation capabilities create market differentiation and customer value for the International Banking Group

Bracknell, June 6th, 2006 – Fujitsu Siemens Computers, the leading European IT vendor, today announced that Standard Chartered PLC, one of the world’s most international banks with operations in more than 50 countries, has selected Fujitsu Siemens Computers’ PRIMERGY BladeFrame® powered by Egenera system as the platform for its core retail-banking application globally. This application, which runs IBM® WebSphere® and IBM DB2®, has the bank’s highest classification for business criticality. Atos Origin, Standard Chartered’s IT provider, will implement the PRIMERGY BladeFrame systems and provide ongoing support from its datacenter in Asia.

The PRIMERGY BladeFrame’s outstanding virtualisation technology, effective use of resources and customer-references sites drove the decision and were key differentiators compared to offerings from other providers. The Fujitsu Siemens Computers solution met the bank’s short-term cost-cutting needs while supporting its long-term strategic vision of flexible and responsive datacenter infrastructure.

“Our IT vision is based on a pool of computing resources that can be repurposed as needed based on business requirements,” says Jan Verplancke, CIO, Group Head Technology & Operations, Standard Chartered. “Working with Atos Origin, we looked at mainframes, high-end RISC systems, x86 white boxes and blades with the bank’s future in mind. Fujitsu Siemens Computers was the only vendor with an integrated solution for virtualisation and the I/O fabric, and the only one with a proven product. Their technology’s track record with other world-class customers gave us the financial data we needed to justify the investment and the confidence to deliver on our strategy.”

He continues, “At the end of the day, the PRIMERGY BladeFrame system was the lowest cost, lowest risk choice, providing the most flexibility. It’s already helping us improve time to market and IT responsiveness, and will ultimately have a positive impact on revenues. Fujitsu Siemens Computers has opened our eyes to a new way of thinking about the datacenter.”

“The PRIMERGY BladeFrame system is the most advanced offering for mixed workloads in our Dynamic Data Center solutions portfolio, optimising IT agility and increasing the responsiveness of IT infrastructures to business needs,” says Dieter Herzog, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Products, Fujitsu Siemens Computers. “As one of our most visionary customers, Standard Chartered quickly recognised both the technical and business advantages of a virtualised environment. By replacing traditional systems with the PRIMERGY BladeFrame’s next-generation architecture, they have increased IT flexibility, slashed time to market, improved application availability and dramatically lowered costs—a powerful combination for competitive advantage.”

“Standard Chartered leads the banking industry in combining deep local knowledge with global capability to best serve its customers,” says Bob Dutkowsky, Chairman, President and CEO, Egenera. “By selecting the PRIMERGY BladeFrame powered by Egenera, Jan and his team are contributing to this tradition, enhancing the bank’s ability to respond quickly to in-country needs while leveraging corporate IT assets worldwide.”

“The innovative solution we’re implementing for Standard Chartered replaces the existing teller and back-office systems with a single system, providing significant benefits to the bank and its customers,” says Xavier Flinois, Member of the Atos Origin Management Board with business responsibilities for the UK, the Americas and Asia Pacific. “Standard Chartered is a longstanding customer of Atos Origin; this project highlights our global reach and ability to roll-out solutions across multiple geographies.”

Standard Chartered chose the PRIMERGY BladeFrame system as the platform for its retail-banking application—including Internet, branch and phone-banking functions at 1,200 global locations—based on several criteria:

Cost Savings
Standard Chartered considered deploying its retail-banking application in each office worldwide, including countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas. The sheer number of CPUs required for an in-country approach resulted in prohibitively high hardware and software-licensing costs. On the other hand, standard servers—even clustered white boxes—did not yield sufficient savings to compensate for the high telecommunications costs of a centralised scheme.

“When you look at a virtualised environment, however, you start to get significant benefits that make centralisation the right approach,” says Verplancke. “With the PRIMERGY BladeFrame, we cut total cost of ownership in half compared to a traditional x86 solution due to superior I/O and performance. We expect that ratio to improve still further as we get more countries up and running and can leverage the system’s repurposing capabilities across time zones.”

This ability to repurpose servers will also lower costs by increasing utilisation. “We have RISC platforms running at 100 percent for three to four hours each evening and literally doing nothing the rest of the day,” says Verplancke. “Because of their legacy architecture, which binds a server to a specific application, these machines cannot be repurposed for other tasks. Alternatively, the PRIMERGY BladeFrame’s virtualised architecture will enable us to do overnight batch processing on blades that handle transactions during the day.”

High Availability
While needing to reduce capital and operational expenses, Standard Chartered cannot afford to compromise reliability. “High resiliency depends, in part, on how often a system fails,” says Verplancke. “But we’re also looking at our ability to recover from a failure. The Fujitsu Siemens Computers platform enables us to recover very rapidly.”

The PRIMERGY BladeFrame also enables Standard Chartered to make every application available at virtually no cost. The system’s diskless architecture and virtualisation capabilities eliminate backup servers, redundant network and storage connections and complex clustering software. The same N+1 approach can be applied at the system level to achieve disaster recovery: Through mirroring, a single platform can back up multiple, geographically dispersed servers.

Time to Market
With Fujitsu Siemens Computers’ virtualisation and management technologies, Atos Origin can bring a new country online in nine days rather than 45 days as estimated for legacy architecture. In other parts of the world, because the PRIMERGY BladeFrame enables a centralised datacenter, the bank no longer needs to establish IT facilities in-country, which can take up to six months.

“Now, when we’re deciding whether to open a bank in a given country, technology is not on the critical path,” notes Verplancke.

Standard Chartered also needs to react quickly to changing conditions in existing markets. With the PRIMERGY BladeFrame, capacity can be reallocated on demand from a pool of processing resources.

“The Fujitsu Siemens Computers system stands alone among x86 platforms in its ability to separate the identity of a server from its capacity,” explains Verplancke. “Now, we can simply store application configurations on our SAN and map them to any blades at any time.”

The PRIMERGY BladeFrame’s ability to run Red Hat® Linux®, SUSE® Linux, Microsoft® Windows® and Sun® Solaris™ simultaneously, on both AMD®- and Intel®-based blades, enhances flexibility still further.

“Despite its name,” notes Verplancke, “the PRIMERGY BladeFrame is not a blade server. It’s an enterprise-class system, comparable to high-end RISC platforms, that runs x86 processors and three operating systems. Before Fujitsu Siemens Computers, we were unable to source hardware at the high end of the stack that supported multiple environments. Instead, we were locked into proprietary platforms to meet the requirements of our mission-critical applications. The PRIMERGY BladeFrame system delivers a truly unique combination of resiliency, cost-effectiveness and flexibility ideally suited to our vision for the future.”