Alpha Bank has always been a pioneer in introducing modern and innovative practices in the Greek banking system. It was the first bank to offer mobile banking branches, ATMs, transaction cards and digital wallets for contactless payments. It also developed an integrated digital ecosystem for web banking.
Alpha Bank’s focus on providing an exceptional customer experience has been acknowledged by the market with several prestigious awards over the years, including Best Bank in Greece for 2020 by the international financial publication Euromoney and Best Private Bank in Greece from two publications: Professional Wealth Management and The Banker (part of the Financial Times Group). Alpha Bank has also been recognized for its digital transformation strategy, which has benefited retail and business on-boarding.
A robust, state-of-the-art IT infrastructure supports banking products and services, so when a legacy backup solution exhibited performance issues in the bank’s infrastructure, the IT team sought a replacement.
The team faced two performance issues. The legacy solution didn’t integrate with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Storage, so backup, replication and recovery speeds were decreasing, putting a strain on the bank’s business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) strategy. The IT team knew storagebased snapshot integration was key to protecting critical IT systems, including newly installed Microsoft Exchange Servers.
The second performance issue was inadequate visibility into the VMware vSphere environment. Monitoring and reporting were limited, making it difficult for the IT team to meet service level agreements (SLAs) with affiliate banking partners and demonstrate compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
“These performance issues, as well as technical issues, were putting the bank’s business services and daily operations at risk,” says Efthymios Bekas, Assistant Manager, Alpha Bank, IT Systems Division. “There is no tolerance on that, either from an IT perspective or a business perspective.”
Bekas said data protection and data management had become slow and complicated, putting critical IT systems at risk.
“Our systems must be available all the time so we can meet customers’ banking needs,” he said. “If they’re not available, we risk customer satisfaction that might damage the bank’s reputation, cause regulatory penalties and even revenue loss.”
Alpha Bank replaced the legacy solution with Veeam® Availability Suite™ to support daily banking operations and the customer experience.
By integrating with HPE Storage and VMware vSphere, Veeam increases backup, replication and recovery speeds by 99% to underpin the bank’s BCDR strategy. Advanced monitoring and reporting with Veeam provide visibility into the virtual environment to meet SLAs with affiliate banking partners and demonstrate compliance with the GDPR. Veeam also aligns with the Bank’s goal of low total cost of ownership (TCO) by saving 30% on storage costs and 20% on software costs. Veeam improves the data duplication ratio up to 22:1 and offers affordable licensing options.
“Veeam supports our top business priorities — data protection, BC and DR, regulatory compliance and TCO — at the highest level with minimal effort,” Bekas said. “Exhaustive quality and performance testing were carried out before we introduced Veeam into our IT infrastructure, proving why Veeam is considered one of the best solutions on the market and the optimal solution for Alpha Bank.”
Veeam backs up and replicates 9.2 PB of data on-premises from HPE 3PAR StoreServ snapshots across more than 7,500 VMware vSphere virtual machines to HPE StoreOnce. Veeam also integrates with HPE Nimble and HPE Primera (storage solutions Alpha Bank will deploy next).
“Veeam delivers the performance integration that was missing from our legacy solution,” Bekas said. “In addition to storage-based snapshot integration, Veeam provides revolutionary features that support digital operations including Instant VM Recovery®, catalyst protocol, replication, BC and DR. Veeam protects data now and in the future.”
When the COVID-19 outbreak emerged, Alpha Bank had already fully deployed Veeam and responded quickly to the crisis based on to its BC planning. Within the first five days of lockdown, 75% of the bank’s employees were working remotely via a Citrix infrastructure. Veeam safeguarded the Citrix infrastructure and supported the onboarding of a record number of new e-banking customers.
“Veeam played an important role supporting banking services, employees and customers,” Bekas said. “We had no idea the solution we picked to replace legacy backup would not only support our top business priorities but also support us through the pandemic. Veeam provides performance, security and peace of mind.”
Alpha Bank was founded in 1879 by J.F. Costopoulos. Today it operates in Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Albania, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom, offering a wide range of financial products and services. Alpha Bank employs more than 10,500 employees internationally.
Alpha Bank has been a leading financial institution in Greece for more than 140 years, offering a wide range of innovative products and services to support customers as they achieve their financial goals. Delivering an exceptional customer experience has always been the bank’s focus, so when a legacy backup solution exhibited performance issues in the virtual environment, Alpha Bank’s IT team proactively replaced it.