Nordea Bank is the largest financial institution in the Nordic and Baltic regions providing a wide range of banking, asset management and insurance products and services. Nordea has around 10 million customers, around 1,400 branch offices and a leading netbanking position, serving 5.3 million online customers. The Nordea share is listed on NASDAQ OMX in Stockholm, Helsinki and Copenhagen. From its original home markets in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden it is rapidly expanding its operations in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia.
Following the emergence of the bank in its current form after a series of mergers, its growth meant that it had built a large and cumbersome network of IT assets in the New European Markets (NEM) of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia. Reliable IT infrastructure was vital to the banks continued expansion and it became rapidly clear that the banks networks in these countries needed, somehow, to be made centrally manageable.
“We were using different, separated network applications in Nordea’s New European Markets,” explains Nordea Bank IT Network Engineer, Edgars Smilgzdruvs. “These included such disparate offerings as SolarWinds, MRTG, old SNMPc versions, and syslog collectors. We therefore needed a unified monitoring system to monitor critical services in, and between, NEM countries. We simply didn’t have the people or resources to keep small separated systems up and running, or to implement big and complicated solutions quickly.”
The bank faced significant technical challenges. More than 1,500 devices were in use across the bank’s NEM networks, managed out of Poland and Latvia, and used by more than 4500 employees. The bank needed up to date and fully featured network monitoring capabilities. It identified an opportunity to acquire the necessary capability at a fraction of the cost of most network monitoring products, in Ipswitch’s WhatsUp Gold family of products.
“WhatsUp Gold was chosen as an easy-to-implement and easy-to-manage application, which can combine several monitoring tasks in one system,” explains Smilgzdruvs. “We decided to install an easy-to-use application and one that was able to cover all monitoring areas, including active service monitoring like ICMP, SNMP and other TCP/ IP services, passive monitoring using SNMP traps and syslogs and statistical monitoring using SNMP graphs”.
Smilgzdruvs is clear about the key benefits WhatsUp Gold has delivered, “The most valuable benefit is keeping Nordea Bank’s corporate network up and running, and WhatsUp Gold has met all our needs and expectations. WhatsUp Gold’s network monitoring capabilities mean that we are able to identify any problems in the network and react quickly to them. WhatsUp Gold is able to recognise problems graphically and it helps to resolve them quickly”.
In addition to meeting all the immediate requirements of Nordea Bank, WhatsUp Gold is identified by Smilgzdruvs as affording significant long term savings, on top of its installation at a very modest up front cost. Remarkably, the bank has acquired a fully featured, international network monitoring solution with just two copies of Ipswitch Network Management’s software.
“WhatsUp Gold provides us with a perfect network monitoring solution for the money it costs. We have spent only about 400 work hours to implement WhatsUp Gold in four countries using many of its features across 1500 devices and across the full range of Nordea Bank’s operations”.
Two years past the initial installation, Smilgzdruvs remains enthusiastic about the capabilities now at Nordea Bank’s disposal. Describing how the software meets the day-to-day requirements of running a major bank’s IT networks across four countries, he is particularly pleased about the fact that he and his colleagues are alerted to potential problems whenever and wherever they arise.
“WhatsUp is used as an on-screen application in monitoring centres in both Poland and Latvia, from where we run our networks in NEM. We receive SMS and e-mail messages about problems in monitored infrastructure, whenever they arise. A lot of features of WUG are used. I can mention several of them - e-mail sending, direct-SMS sending, graphical maps, customised active monitors and statistical graphs”. Smilgzdruvs concludes, unequivocally: “Without them, net- work monitoring, would be very hard and complicated.”