Intesa Sanpaolo is the largest bank in Italy and maintains a network of over 5,000 banking branches across Europe and North Africa. With nearly 19 million customers and €739 billion in assets, Intesa Sanpaolo is an integral part of the financial fabric and as such, Italian regulations require that they keep their business and applications online to serve their customers.
As a bank that can trace its roots back to the early 1800s, the majority of Intesa’s edge applications are still monolithic and hard to move between data centers, never mind migrate to the cloud. Diego Braga, Intesa IT Infrastructure Architect, looked to Docker Enterprise Edition (EE) at the recommendation of his Kiratech business partner Lorenzo Fontana to improve their application availability, portability and add cloud friendly application delivery. With Docker EE, Intesa was able to consolidate infrastructure by nearly 60%, thus saving significant money over their previous design, while also enabling higher application availability across regional data centers and preparing themselves for the cloud.
Prior to the Docker EE implementation, not only were the applications monoliths, but Intesa maintained two separate data centers as mirrors of each other to achieve high availability. This design required excess, cold standby hardware capacity in each data center to handle any outages and successfully failover operations; hardware they hoped they would never need to switch on and thus it sat idle and depreciating. Intesa desired a solution that would enable them to utilize the available capacity of both data centers.
The new design with Docker EE enables Intesa to utilize the resources in both data centers, eliminating waste and delivering cost savings. Through testing and analysis, Diego calculated that Docker Enterprise Edition allowed him to consolidate and run over 2.5 times more applications per physical server with Docker EE than in the previous virtualized environment. This consolidation benefit delivered the cost savings required to move the project forward.
To show the benefits of Docker EE as an application delivery platform, Diego and Lorenzo identified the first batch of candidate applications to containerize, focusing on Microsoft Windows Server and Linux Java-based stacks due to their complete support within Docker. The hybrid management capability of Docker EE was important to Intesa as they run a hybrid mix of Windows and Linux services. “The team could write the Docker compose file and just that,” Lorenzo noted. “[Docker] deployed the Windows containers on Windows and the Linux containers on Linux.”
As with most customers, Intesa also needed their solution to work for both Docker-based and non-Docker applications. Backed by private, high-speed networking and complementary storage and networking solutions from Elastifile and AVI Networks to deliver continuously replicated storage and software-defined networking for both their Dockerized and non-Docker applications across the entire configuration.
Now that Intesa is using Docker EE in production with their first applications, they are looking to expand their use cases. They are planning to further reduce their on-premises infrastructure and use the cloud for peak traffic bursts. Their Dockerized applications already have the flexibility and portability to run on the major public clouds, and Intesa is evaluating cloud broker models to help them analyze which clouds to use for their applications.
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