Bank of Ireland Removes Servers, Increases Patching Success with 1E Nomad

Digital disruption is felt in few places as keenly as the banking industry, where technology is rendering huge changes both in the finance sector itself, and in the way customers like you and me access and control our accounts.

Evidence of this is easy to find. As reported earlier this month in The Irish Times, the Bank of Ireland – one of Ireland’s top two banks – is planning to invest €500 million into its group infrastructure over the next five years. This plan, known as Project Omega, is seeking to thereby improve the bank’s internal workings as well as the experience of its customers.

In fact, The Bank of Ireland has been a 1E customer for a few years, utilizing 1E Nomad in its SCCM 2007 environment to deliver patching, software and OS deployment to workstations, including locations with limited network bandwidth. This has already enabled it to significantly reduce its server infrastructure at remote sites.

Now, though, the partnership is set to evolve. The Bank of Ireland still retains 23 Distribution Points at larger sites. These are used to deliver patches to approximately 3,000 servers (as well as the workstation estate) using native SCCM BITS.

Nomad can be integrated on the server systems to deliver software and patches. This would allow Bank of Ireland to further simplify the SCCM hierarchy (by removing the physical 23 DPs at the larger sites) and align the centralized Nomad delivery model for both workstation and server platforms.

Meanwhile, when content is downloaded across the WAN from the DPs in the Central data center, Nomad uses bandwidth throttling to ensure it always yields to business traffic, ensuring the WAN bandwidth is never saturated.

Knowing the Bank of Ireland’s commitment to streamlining its IT infrastructure, increase its efficiency, and reduce unnecessary overheads, 1E was able to present it with three options: they could keep existing local DP solution; install Nomad on all servers using standard settings; or install Nomad on all servers, turning off elections.

We sat down with Ciaran Hopkins, Systems Management Specialist who manages the SCCM infrastructure at Bank of Ireland, to find out more about their decision, and why they made it.

“When considering each option, business needs, service reliability and ongoing management costs were the primary concerns,” explained Hopkins. “For these reasons, the third option (installing Nomad on all servers, without elections) covered the needs of the project. It catered for any unforeseen bandwidth issues while maintaining and driving patching efficiency for a very large and diverse server estate. Also, the reduction in physical server numbers was a welcome benefit. It’s not just the initial outlay but the ongoing overhead of managing those servers. It greatly reduces ongoing costs to the organisation.”

We asked how the reduction of server infrastructure would benefit the wider organization.

“SCCM 2012 already brings a flatter hierarchy but the integration of 1E’s components reduces it even more,” said Hopkins. “To be honest, when designing the 2012 infrastructure, there was a lot of head scratching when we looked at the additional number of servers we seemed to require. It didn’t look right. We were coming from an SCCM 2007 infrastructure with dozens of servers to manage. With the help of 1E, we now have a design that requires only a small number of servers. We are now dealing with a streamlined and simplified centralized environment. This allows administrators to concentrate their precious time on more immediate concerns, not to mention the cost savings.”

Freeing up time and money for innovation – it’s what Software Lifecycle Automation is all about.

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Vishal Ladwa
Vishal Ladwa is a Senior SCCM Consultant at 1E and has been with the company since 2011. He specializes in System Management Design, implementation, Operating System Deployment and integrating 1E Solutions. With over 10 years’ experience of managing and maintaining IT networking infrastructures, working with vendors such as Cisco,, Juniper, Symantec and EMC to provide data centre and systems management solutions. Outside of 1E Vishal has his hands full managing the family business.