BACKGROUND: Corporacion Bancaria de Espana (Argentaria) has more than 1,700 branches and about 1,700 financial counters in post offices throughout Spain. It offers retail banking, mortgage, real estate and corporate banking services. The firm has entered the Latin American market, and it has 32 banks in 14 countries. Formed in 1991 from several state-owned banks, Argentaria was privatized in 1998.

PLATFORMS: The hardware platforms that Argentaria utilizes with Computer Network Technology's (CNT) products include: Windows NT, Hewlett-Packard (over half the environment), Compaq (formerly Digital), Sun, IBM PF2 and OS/390 Enterprise Systems for IBM.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Argentaria transfers large amounts of data (700 to 1,000 files) on a daily basis from an open system to a mainframe and needed to reduce file transfer time and update connections. Previously, the average file transfer took 18 minutes. FileSpeed drastically reduced the average file transfer from an open system to a mainframe from 18 minutes to 12 seconds. Currently, Argentaria has 300 users in place and plans to expand to more than 1,000 users in the upcoming year. FileSpeed's scalability will add the additional users with ease and no additional cost.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The project is up and running without any problems. In the future, Argentaria is considering using the data piping capabilities of FileSpeed which will allow them to extract, transform and load (ETL) information between databases without the need for intermediate flat files. This will save additional time in the transfer process, allow for greater automation and significantly reduce disk space requirements required for the temporary flat files.

STRENGTHS: The greatest strengths of FileSpeed are its ability to move large amounts of data between open systems and mainframes in a short amount of time and its ability to reduce the CPU utilization from as much as 30 percent to two to three percent. This allows administrators to reduce the amount of time it takes to monitor file transfers, thus giving the organization closer to a 24x7 business operation and allowing the administrators to take on more satisfying projects.

WEAKNESSES: At the beginning of the project, the NT platform support was delayed and an implementation plan was created by the vendor to assist the customer in achieving the desired objectives of the project. In addition, some scripting was required on the receiving end of the data.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Argentaria chose CNT's FileSpeed because it is designed to execute data movement/data sharing during a small, and ever-shrinking, window of time (7 p.m. to 2 a.m.). It can also provide high-speed restoration of mission-critical open servers and can offload the FTP processing from the host, saving expensive cycles. Additionally, data integrity is preserved with 32-bit CRC. Two other solutions were reviewed and rejected in the trial phases. CNT was chosen based on WAN performance, the ability to move data between data centers and the flexibility to connect additional banking facilities.

DELIVERABLES: The incredible reduction in file transfer time allows for more data processing time which improves customer service. Because of the ease of scheduling, the administrator is able to spend less time monitoring file transfers. The staff that previously monitored this procedure is more productive and can assume more challenging and satisfying assignments. In addition, Argentaria had the opportunity to cut additional costs by eliminating several existing applications with features that are now executed by FileSpeed. Also, this new infrastructure allows Argentaria to monitor spending habits as well as individual and corporate accounts on a daily basis to determine who is making transactions and how they are making them. All of this information is used to develop target marketing mailings.

VENDOR SUPPORT: There was strong collaboration between the vendor's laboratory and the local representative that eliminated end-user problems while the required features were implemented.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation was easy to understand.

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