Bank replaces desktops with PC blades

Case study: Insinger De Beaufort tightens security and simplifies system management

Case study: Insinger De Beaufort tightens security and simplifies system management

When Anglo-Dutch private banking group Insinger De Beaufort moved offices it also took the chance to replace its existing desktops with something much more cutting edge: PC blades.

John Bryant, ICT manager at Insinger de Beaufort, told silicon.com the decision to switch to the new technology came up when the company moved to new offices in London.

"We had been deliberately holding off on IT investments in preparation for the office move, one of those being new PCs. The PCs were getting on for five or six years old and we were on or below minimum spec for some of our third-party applications including key market data products. We were doing a lot of fire-fighting."

Bryant put in place a PC blade pilot scheme with half a dozen users in the front and back office, testing every hardware and software permutation the company was running on its existing PCs. Following the success of this it has now rolled out around 150 PC blades.

The PC tower on the desk has been replaced with a small user port about the size of a paperback book. This port is connected to the PC Blades held in racks in the secure comms room.

Each of the PC Blades from ClearCube Technology contains all the standard workstation components, including processors, memory, hard drives and video cards.

"There are a number of advantages. If a PC fails we can immediately swap the user onto a designated PC and staff moves and changes take a lot less time - down from 15 minutes to about five," Bryant said.

"One thing we didn't have to do was dramatically change the existing infrastructure to create the dealing room. We saved a substantial amount of money on not having to put extra infrastructure in place. We worked out that the whole deployment would cost no more that £1,500 a year more to run the blades instead of normal PCs - and we have all the value-added services on top."

Because there is no Ethernet signal going out to the desk, no one can come and plug in a laptop to the office network, tightening security further.

"We've built a stable and versatile infrastructure, and rather than fire-fighting we've moved onto project work. Our PCs are actually in what I would deem to be the best place for them - they aren't getting kicked, they are in a clean environment and they are safe. The blades aren't going to be stolen by an opportunist thief as you can't use the hardware at home."

The switchover has also gone smoothly for users: "The users have noticed very little difference. The only thing they've picked up on is the performance increase," Bryant said.