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PostFinance makes banking a simple pleasure

Swiss bank keeps omnipresent files going with NetApp flash and MetroCluster IP

PostFinance is a diversified, innovation-driven financial services provider that offers its customers smart solutions for all their banking needs. In doing so, PostFinance relies on forward-thinking tools and technologies that are developed or adapted specifically for the Swiss market. NetApp® systems provide the file data for secure banking transactions and speed up the development of financial products and services with persistent storage.



It’s important for financial matters to be straightforward for PostFinance’s 2.7 million customers. They receive personal advice on investments, financing, and retirement planning. A comparison platform helps them find the best mortgage. Digital tools range from direct banking and mobile payment to an innovative 3-in-1 app for paying, saving, and investing money. Creative minds and an experienced IT team make all that happen. 


Modern core banking system

Of about 3,600 employees at PostFinance, more than 600 work in IT. They manage one of the most modern core banking systems in the Swiss financial center, operate highly integrated components, and provide internal resources. 

Cloud, blockchain, and open-source technologies are standard at PostFinance. NetApp storage for
file services is vital in myriad operations, enabling applications and systems to exchange, process, and consume file data nonstop. Temporarily exported data can be reliably cached during events such as database releases. In addition to application shares, NetApp storage also keeps 500 user shares from software development ready for access.

“Files are everywhere. Applications and microservices in core and mobile banking need them, as do users from software developers to consultants in the post office. Since file service is business critical, we work with NetApp. Our experiences are very good. I don’t know of any failure with NetApp storage as the reason,” said André Kocher, senior systems engineer at PostFinance.

PostFinance has anchored the file service in its private cloud and configured the storage by using the MetroCluster feature of ONTAP®. Synchronous data mirrors between the data centers in Bern and Zofingen, 100 km away, enable disaster recovery. If one site were to fail, file service would be seamlessly provided from the second site and operations would continue.


Projekt overview


Even the best systems eventually need renewal. After 6 years of permanent operation, the file storage was ready for a refresh. Performance, scalability, replication, unified operations for UNIX and Windows shares, support quality, manageability, migration concept, and more were factors in the decision about a vendor and product. NetApp AFF A400 systems with NVMe storage for fast data access won, once again configured as a MetroCluster cluster, but now for IP.

“With NetApp, everything was right in terms of technology. Other vendors could either not do a nondisruptive migration, or not as easily as NetApp,”
said Kocher.

PostFinance works directly with NetApp, and it also relies on the expertise of its long-standing IT
partner BNC. In situations such as migrations in a 24/7 environment, it comes down to close and trusting teamwork.

“BNC is a competent and experienced partner, so the migration to the new all-flash systems was smooth and fast,” said Kocher. “BNC integrated the new nodes into the existing MetroCluster cluster. 200TB of data was automatically copied and mounted from disk to flash. Once the synchronous mirror was up and running, we pulled the old nodes out of its
racks. And that was it. Human, machine, application, or microservice, all file users enjoyed continued operations as if nothing had happened.”

Once again, PostFinance is up to date with storage and can easily absorb peak loads. Users and IT
administration appreciate the typical operating convenience and the flash performance boost.
Proven routines, such as backup and disaster recovery, largely stayed in place.

Invest to save

"Today you can use IP instead of Fibre Channel without sacrificing security, availability, or performance. And it’s less costly. MetroCluster IP helped us to simplify the storage network and reduce its costs,” said Kocher.

Efficiency methods like data compression, deduplication, and compression at the volume and
aggregate levels help PostFinance save on capacity and expansion steps. Combined with NetApp’s allflash technology, PostFinance can store almost twice as much data as it has capacity in place.

“We want banking to be simply a pleasure. To reach this goal, we rely on partners like NetApp and BNC. They respond to our concerns and provide professional help with a great deal of commitment so that we can concentrate on our core business,” said Patrick Hofmann, Head of Enterprise & Shared IT Services and deputy CIO and COO at PostFinance.

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