Case studies / MB Financial Bank

Improved Longevity of Hard Drives at MB Financial Bank

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“Diskeeper is the easiest, most cost-effective way to make fragmentation (and the concerns and management over fragmentation) a thing of the past.”

MIKE MACIKANYCZ
VP OF IT AND SENIOR TECHNICAL LEAD

Challenges

  • Prevent fragmentation from occurring
  • Ensure the ability to service their customers is not impacted
  • Free up IT focus their attention on other IT projects

“The upgrade to Diskeeper 2010 has been one of the easiest upgrades we have had to face to date, completely seamless right out of the ‘box’.”

Benefits

• 50% or greater application performance improvement, with no additional hardware
• Latency and throughput dramatically improved
• True “set and forget” management
• Compatible with all SAN/NAS systems
• Easily deploy to largest virtual, physical or cloud environments
• Before-and-after performance reporting to validate performance gains
• Enterprise-wide visibility into I/O performance, from VM to storage

“Diskeeper has stretched the longevity of our system’s hard drives beyond the normal MT BF, helping keep system uptime at 99.999%.”

Environment

  • SAN-attached servers, SQL, and various application systems
  • Windows Server 2003
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MB Financial Bank, a commercial bank with approximately 1,700 employees and nearly 90 banking centers throughout Chicagoland, provides customer-driven financial solutions to privately held, middle-market businesses as well as to small businesses and individuals who work and live in the communities served. They have grown substantially over the past several years and offer a wide array of commercial and personal banking products and services as well as trusts, private banking and investments through the wealth management division. Service is their hallmark. MB was an early adopter of automatic disk defragmentation, and has been a Condusiv customer since 2002. Their original evaluation was based on the idea that fragmentation slows down system performance and incurs excessive wear and tear on the drive.

DYNAMIC IT SERVICES

Delivering proactive technology solutions that benefit the business bottom line is the responsibility of Mike Macikanycz, Vice-President of Information Technology and Senior Technical Lead at MB. He’s convinced a proactive approach to IT in general has resulted in smoother sailing for the organization. That “general approach” includes the area of file fragmentation.

“Diskeeper® performance software works so well we just take it for granted,” noted Mike. With Diskeeper in use for over eight years, “we haven’t been faced with the challenges that probably prompt companies to look into disk defragmentation utilities to solve their problems.”

Ensuring fragmentation never impacted the ability of MB to service their customers from the get-go all falls in line with the MB IT team’s forward thinking, contributes to the company’s success and allows them to focus their attention on other IT projects.

“Basically the automatic defrag option [of Diskeeper] has allowed my technical team to not worry about housekeeping chores like defragmenting volumes, and to instead focus on other preventative maintenance tasks including updating patches, firmware…that require IT oversight,” he said.

With fragmentation being a non-factor, when system performance issues do arise, IT can skip what would otherwise be a common troubleshooting step, and more quickly uncover and resolve the cause. Mike acknowledged this, stating that, “Diskeeper’s automatic defrag operations allows us to not concern ourselves with fragmentation so we can focus on other aspects when determining system performance issues.”

THE ENVIRONMENT

Helping MB to deploy, maintain, and manage their 136 Diskeeper Server licenses (that keep their Window 2003 servers humming along), they have leveraged the robust functionality in the Diskeeper Administrator edition.

Those servers to which Diskeeper is deployed run the gamut of MB operations, with the software provisioned on the SAN-attached servers, SQL, and various application systems. And with Diskeeper as a component of their expansion plan, additional licenses of Diskeeper are deployed as MB grows. In addition, the software plays a significant role in some of the more seasoned systems as well.

“Our systems running Diskeeper operate at peak performance, such that the older processor and associated chipsets run the latest applications as if they are on multicore, multi-processor systems with advanced disk sub-systems,” said Mike.

Having grown with Diskeeper for the past eight years, Mike has seen many of the technological milestones in the Diskeeper product. InvisiTasking® technology is one that resonated with him, stating, “The InvisiTasking is the most innovative and productive way to tap into the idle cycles of a server’s processor use!”

And, now with the new IntelliWrite™ technology in Diskeeper, Windows systems benefit from an even more proactive solution to maintain clean disks on servers, workstations and laptops. With IntelliWrite, any bits of fragmentation that do occur are resolved in real-time with zero resource conflict.

IntelliWrite technology’s use at MB continues to keep the servers running at top performance and extending the longevity of the hard disks. With data now stored optimally with the initial write, there is a further reduction of overall disk head movement, greater enhancing a key benefit MB has realized from using Diskeeper software over the years.

BUSINESS BENEFIT: DRIVE LONGEVITY = UPTIME

With a business that operates seven days a week, uptime is vital to offering a high level of service to their clientele. Mike reported that, “Diskeeper has stretched the longevity of our systems hard drives beyond the normal MTBF (Mean time between failures) helping keep systems running at five nines, meaning the system uptime is 99.999%.”

Condusiv Technologies Corporation’s innovative disk defragmentation technologies convinced MB’s IT team that the longevity of their servers’ hard drives have been a direct result of running for many years. They now have Enterprise servers that have been running for over six years without hard drive failures. Their engineers have discovered that minimal head movement on hard drives as a result of contiguous file structure keeps them running longer with fewer disk failures vs. fragmented files that require excess head and actuator arm movement as a result of fragmentation. Server hard drive failure has been less than 1%, based on the install base on this age group of servers running Diskeeper, well exceeding industry averages for drive lifespan.

Published large-scale studies, such as one recently conducted by Carnegie Mellon University on about 100,000 drives, show typical annual HDD annual failure rates (AFR) of between 2% and 4%, and up to 13% observed on some systems.

“There is no doubt Diskeeper has saved IT time by eliminating administrative management of disk fragmentation levels and through improved longevity of hard drives, so that we are not replacing them as frequently as we possibly could,” stated Mike.

Hardware failures are often costly from a perspective of both associated downtime and device replacement cost. Greater system and drive reliability results in substantial savings.

SUMMARY

The MB Financial Bank IT team has been very happy with the continuing service from Condusiv Technologies Corporation staff and the Diskeeper product, recommending Diskeeper for solving fragmentation.

At MB, Diskeeper has provided greater system availability, enabling employees to achieve higher productivity and support their efforts to provide customers with the high levels of service of which MB is known for.

IT benefits as well with Diskeeper’s trademarked “Set It and Forget It”® solution. The IT staff is convinced that because they’ve always used Diskeeper, they have less problems and issues than they would without it.

The use of Diskeeper for most of the past decade has resulted in quantifiable ROI, ongoing savings to MB, and has helped the IT team to focus on other areas associated with the company’s strategic growth.

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