REVIEWER: Padraic Hamrock, head of IT services, AIB Capital Markets, Treasury & International.

BACKGROUND: AIB Group is a leading bank/financial services organization. The group employs 31,000 staff worldwide in more than 1,000 offices with main operations located in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Britain, the U.S. and Poland. AIB Capital Markets comprises AIB group's treasury, international, investment banking and corporate banking businesses. The division operates worldwide through offices in Ireland, UK, U.S. and Europe through a range of specialist business units and subsidiary companies. The division employs more than 2,000 staff worldwide.

PLATFORMS: Compaq Alpha servers running Tru64 UNIX.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Aleri Modeler provided the ability for users to define and obtain sophisticated management reports from very large data sets within an environment of rapid growth and restricted time windows. Removed the previous need to compromise on the data content usable in analysis, to match processing capability to available batch window.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Aleri Modeler provides an integrated, vector-based, data management framework optimized for ultra-high-speed data manipulation and analysis of very large data sets. Includes components to leverage legacy environments and to store, extract, transform, integrate and analyze data across multiple sources and targets. Use of vector arrays generates speed by removing the requirement for pre-aggregation, does not use nulls and adds delta processing ability. Includes interfaces via published APIs and using ODBC, XML or messaging. It is able to use existing SQL code.

STRENGTHS: The Aleri product has been in use for more than two years and has allowed AIB to greatly extend the number and scope of management reports generated. Most importantly, Aleri enables AIB to base reports on unrestricted data, as the speed of vector processing has removed the previous need for compromise on data content to meet time constraints. Product scales linearly and has handled a 300 percent increase in transaction volumes while simultaneously allowing greater flexibility of reports, often requiring multidimensional analysis. Delta processing capability adds major performance gains. Significant cost- performance benefits include improved CPU utilization, highly productive vector command language and ability to handle change rapidly without major SQL rewrites and tuning.

WEAKNESSES: AIB has been an early user of a sophisticated product that has been in continual refinement. Not all features were initially available, but our core requirements were well met. Initial single platform availability was a constraint but was accommodated with the initial deployment.

SELECTION CRITERIA: AIB required high-speed integration and analysis of large data volumes from multiple sources. We had to enable users to define new reports and ensure challenging management reporting time constraints were met. Because we required increasingly complex data manipulation and analysis despite rapidly growing data volumes, we needed linear scalability to provide future-proofing. We found no other companies able to meet our requirements.

DELIVERABLES: Aleri Modeler is used to supply core user-defined management and regulatory reports. These require the analysis of a financial data repository containing multiple tens of millions of balances. Many reports are multidimensional, and users are looking to increase the range and scope of reports generated. Delta processing ability is a major advantage in rapid generation of selective reports from large samples. Report generation times were reduced dramatically, although data volumes rose by 300 percent. Many reports were produced in less than 10 percent of earlier timings. The more complex the case, the more the benefit. Quarterly regulatory reports that had taken 12 hours were reduced to 12 minutes on a like-for-like comparison. Even larger gains were made when Aleri's delta processing abilities were used, reducing the 12 hours to less than a minute.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Aleri and AIB have worked closely together to gain the benefits promised by this product. Key Aleri resources were knowledgeable of the data model used in AIB from previous engagements which helped in implementing a successful solution. Aleri has been responsive when AIB has reported bugs or requested refinements. They are innovative, knowledgeable and committed to client success with their products.

DOCUMENTATION: As an early adopter, we have learned the product in depth in collaboration with Aleri. Original documentation was somewhat limited.

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