Financial services firm Royal Liver has completed the first phase of its project to shift its services and infrastructure provision onto IBM's On Demand platform.
It has migrated its first legacy application, Tivoli Storage Management (TSM) system, over to its new IBM z800 mainframe, which Royal Liver said would improve operational effectiveness and strengthen its business continuity plans.
John Macdonald, Royal Liver's Group Services IT director, explained that the project would allow Royal Liver to offer better customer services and ensure compliance with legal obligations under the Financial Services Marketing Act.
This legislation was revised in 2001 after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"Since 9/11, the Financial Services Association in the UK took a keen interest in viable business control plans," said MacDonald.
"All financial institutions then had to ensure that recovery systems were more efficient so that if something catastrophic happened they would be able to pick up and continue business seamlessly in another location."
Half of the new platform runs the OS/390 system, with the other half devoted to Linux. Royal Liver deploys IBM's WebSphere software to offer access to its services online.
"This will allow us to deliver services to people on demand on any kind of device such as handheld computers, PCs or digital television," he said.
WebSphere also acts as a link between the old and new mainframe, so that Royal Liver can migrate legacy applications without having to modify them.
IBM's On Demand initiative reflects the way in which it sees companies buying and using IT services and infrastructure in the future.
The idea is that businesses can buy their IT services and even some of their infrastructure in the same way that manufacturing companies buy electricity to fit in with their production needs.
"In a simplistic way IBM's philosophy is about flexibility and taking any fixed cost and making it variable," said Probal Sil, business development director for Elyzium, Royal Liver's preferred partner in this venture.
"Companies can buy or rent infrastructure and services as and when they need them instead of having to buy everything up front."
With TSM, which manages the storage, backup and recovery operations, now up and running on the new platform, Royal Liver will migrate further applications such as its accounting and HR functions over the coming year.
Eventually, it plans to have all its legacy and new services and applications running on the z800 mainframe, but it says there is no rush to carry out all these tasks.
"There is no pressure. We can do it when we wish to," said MacDonald.
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