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By Microsoft Customer Stories on March 15, 2017

Filed under Financial Services - Banking & Capital Markets

One of Ecuador’s largest banks chooses SQL Server 2016 for core financial services.

Engines of economic development throughout history, banking systems have never been more important—or complicated—than they are now. Produbanco, the third largest bank in Ecuador, is a case in point. Established in 1978, it currently has more than 700,000 customers accessing an extensive service network that includes 104 branches, 1,465 kiosks, and 300 ATMs. A technology innovator, Produbanco has been running its services on Microsoft technology since 2002. And today, the bank is taking another step forward in technology and service innovation with Microsoft SQL Server 2016.

Chose SQL Server 2016 for core banking operations

Produbanco has approximately US$4 billion in total assets under management as of December 31, 2016, and a rapidly growing customer base. To stay on top of growth while continuing to offer new services, the bank decided to upgrade the core database infrastructure that supports it mission-critical banking software.

Produbanco’s data was growing along with its customer base. The bank had 42 terabytes in online transaction processing (OLTP) storage, and the volume was increasing by 20 percent each year. In addition, as part of a modern banking system, Produbanco needed to be able to deliver its services across an array of channels, including branch offices, ATMs, and mobile apps.

To enhance the performance and security of transactional processing, Produbanco decided to become an early adopter of SQL Server 2016 and take advantage of features such as in-memory analytics and Always Encrypted. By participating in the SQL Server Early Adoption Program and receiving Premier Services, the bank could work collaboratively with the SQL Server engineering team and test its workload at the SQLCAT Customer Lab.

The bank deployed SQL Server 2016 into production quickly, and Carlos Pajuna, Database Manager at Produbanco, says, “We worked closely with Microsoft, and we completed the upgrade process smoothly in a few hours.”

Handles 1 million SQL Server transactions in an hour

In tests, the bank reports that it reached an average of 250,000 business transactions—and 1 million SQL Server transactions—per hour. Monthly business transactions reached 311 million. Moreover, Produbanco is confident that it can scale up to five times that volume with its new SQL Server 2016 architecture. In production, the performance gains are having a measurable impact on the customer experience. For example, 99.57 percent of all online banking processes—including money transfers, payments, and balance reporting—execute end-to-end in less than one second. This results in great customer experience from any channel.

In addition, by consolidating three database servers into a single database server, the bank eliminated network latency and accelerated performance for critical batch processes. As a result, Produbanco cut the batch-process execution time by 48 percent. The bank also switched from traditional row indexes to columnstore indexes and reduced the execution time for queries used to monitor database operations by 80 percent.

Behind the scenes, the IT staff continues to optimize the customer experience by using SQL Server 2016 Management Data Warehouse to track the growth and performance of 70 database instances. The monitoring enables the bank to make more strategic decisions about load balancing and hardware purchases. Produbanco also uses SQL Server Auditing tools to audit its servers for security and compliance.

Cuts disaster-recovery time to less than two minutes in a catastrophic event

The bank’s services stay up and running around the clock. Using Always On Availability Groups, the server in the primary datacenter in Quito fails over to another server in a remote location. Produbanco had an opportunity to test the new environment when a volcano erupted 62 miles from Quito. “To protect the main site from downtime, we tested a failover from the main site to the secondary location, and then failed back again to the main site,” says Javier Hidalgo, Vice President of Technology at Produbanco. “With Always On Availability Groups in SQL Server 2016, the whole process was successful and took less than two minutes.”

Data is well-protected in other ways too. For example, the bank is using Always Encrypted technology and row-level security to safeguard sensitive data such as credit card information all the way from the client app to the SQL Server database, whether in motion or at rest. The bank’s development and quality assurance teams also use Dynamic Data Masking to protect confidential information while testing or modifying applications.

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