datacentre migration

ICEFLO delivers payments platform technology refresh

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Customer Context

After a global bank completed the acquisition of a European business, a legacy corporate payments platform was inherited. The platform hadn't been upgraded for several years and it was showing its age. 

The platform had a very high value of corporate transactions flowing though the European-based systems every single day. Reliability was a significant issue with multiple hardware and software issues occurring each month. The quality of service provided to corporate customers demanded a rapid and significant response.

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The Problem

The European business used a 3rd party provider to maintain it's key payments platform. The "break-fix" nature of the service contract meant that little or no preventative maintenance had been performed on this complex platform for many years.

The stability of the service was failing to meet SLA obligations, with incidents becoming a regular and unwelcome reality for staff and customers alike.  Knowledge of how the system worked was diminishing as the inevitable organisational changes unfolded..

The Goal

  • To mobilise and manage a global, multi-party upgrade team
  • To rapidly engineer significant upgrades to the ageing hardware, operating systems and database components
  • To build confidence in the cutover plans, enabling a series of "Go" decision to be reached
  • To deliver several Go-Live cutovers, containing risk and minimising planned service outages 
  • To ensure that Payments systems were fully operational after each cutover event

The Challenge

A technology refresh on a critical business system of this scale represents a huge feat of planning, organisation and orchestration. From the outset, the strategy was to adopt a low-risk approach, implementing a series of incremental changes.  Time was the biggest challenge - both in terms of the need to get the job done as quickly as possible and the restrictive constraints in terms of planned downtime to facilitate this essential work.

The scope of work was as follows:

  • Over 90 high-value corporate payments systems supported on the platform
  • 22 separate "nodes" configured as an Oracle High Availability "grid"
  • Shutdown and start-up procedures were poorly documented and often problematic
  • Physical servers to be swapped out, and new OS to be installed on replacement servers
  • Database components to be upgraded, including clustering software
  • Rigorous application checkout to be performed on each change cycle

ICEFLO consultants led and delivered the project, working closely with the clients staff and 3rd parties. The first challenge was to document and fully rehearse the shutdown and start-up procedures, capturing the steps, owners and timings in detailed runbooks. Test environments were used to achieve this level of understanding before any attempt was made to upgrade Production.

The Result

The Approach

  • Detailed runbooks created with proven shutdown and start-up procedures and vastly reduced cycle times 
  • Technical engineering work competed in advance to automate and standardise various builds
  • 1 node upgrades performed to prove the process, people and tool-set without diminishing operational capacity
  • 2 node upgrades followed by 4 node upgrades, proven one step at a time
  • 6 cutover events in total, increasing scope as confidence grows
Calm, controlled cutover execution
Capture of essential information in runbooks
Active risk and issue management
Eradication of service interrupting failures
“For me the greatest benefit of using ICEFLO
was access to the STP Dashboards. They provided me with an instant visual summary of the ‘health’ of the change and it’s expected completion times. This was critical given the risk-averse nature of this upgrade.”

Anonymous, Head of Global Transaction Services


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