INETCO Insight active/active-ly monitoring complex banking environments for Nedbank

Nedbank logoYesterday INETCO announced that Nedbank, one of the largest banks in South Africa, has licensed the INETCO Insight transaction monitoring software to active-ly (more on this below…) capture and correlate rich transaction data gathered from every one of the billions of monthly ATM and point-of-sale (POS) service requests processed by the bank.  Each of the bank’s transactions makes numerous hops before it can be completed—moving from a consumer facing ATM or POS terminal, through a complex transaction processing environment consisting of multiple Postilion servers, out to multiple backend databases and third party services (like Visa, Master Card, and Bankserv), and then back again. INETCO Insight was the only end-to-end transaction monitoring solution found to effectively monitor every hop, of every transaction, as each moves through its complex, transaction path.

Per Jason De Swardt, head of Nedbank’s new Payment Services Hub: “As our banking IT infrastructure grows, so does the complexity of monitoring transactions. INETCO Insight is envisioned to be our not-so-secret weapon when it comes to real-time transaction slowdown troubleshooting, improving problem isolation times by up to 75% – which helps us manage costs, and, more importantly, maintain the high level of service that our customers have come to expect.”

What makes this news especially exciting for INETCO is the complex Postilion “active/active” banking architecture that our software will monitor. What does that mean? Good question—and one that I had myself! Backing up a few steps…

Postilion provides banking transaction switching software that routes financial transactions. Most of the time Postilion switch software servers are set up in a relatively simple fashion, whereby transactions flow into the switch, which then sends them through to their appropriate destination (per the image below).

Image of a typical transaction moving through a Postilion server

Postilion switches can also be deployed in an active/active environment to ensure higher ATM and POS network availability. In this case, transactions will keep flowing through one Postilion switch unless there’s some sort of problem with that particular path, at which point a secondary route exists. This type of architecture is most often used for disaster recovery (DR) or failover.

Image of a simple Postilion active/active architecture
Dotted line signifies a potential transaction path

Now, the transaction processing architecture that INETCO Insight is being used to monitor for Nedbank is much more complex. Within this Postilion active/active environment there are multiple Postilion servers. Each server has the opportunity to route a transaction, and each transaction will likely touch multiple servers as it makes its way through to backend databases, third party services, and back again. This architecture is used by larger financial institutions to ensure that they can handle the load of billions of individual transactions without lag or downtime. Within an active/active environment, monitoring a transaction can be quite daunting. If you tried to watch each Postilion server, you’d have to keep your head on a swivel so that you could catch what was happening on each reporting screen. Pinpointing exactly what type of transaction might be causing issues, and before major slow downs and failures occur, can be near impossible.

Unless you have INETCO Insight…

With INECTO Insight you’d be able to monitor every transaction as it flows through your architecture and be alerted to any transaction issues, network slowdowns or problems with any of your multiple servers before getting an angry call from a merchant using one of your POS terminals or an irate customer who’s ATM request fails. You’d be able to capture every hop of a transaction, and have the data it carries (ie: request/response timings, transaction dollar values, network address information) easily accessible to you if you need to drill down and investigate where and when a problem occurred, so that you can quickly determine the “why” and resolve it. Using INETCO Insight you’re better able to maintain the level of service that your financial institution is known for; a level of service that has allowed Nedbank to grow by over two-million new clients in two years.

Image of a complex active/active Postilion architecture monitored with INETCO Insight

To learn more about INETCO’s work with Nedbank, see our press release. To learn more about how INETCO Insight can help you monitor your complex Postilion active/active architecture contact us for a demo.

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