A Safe Bet

By Jim Thompson  |  Posted 2001-03-05 Print this article Print

A Safe Bet Founded in 1983, Dimension Data is one of the largest independent network and I-commerce services businesses in the world, with operations in more than 30 countries on six continents. Its extensive experience in network implementations coupled with a strong track record in infrastructure deployment and business consulting made it the perfect partner for Amalgamated Bank.

"The endorsement by Cisco gave us immediate confidence in the capabilities of Dimension Data," Horowitz says. "They analyzed our problem and suggested solutions almost immediately."

Dimension Data realized that Gigabit Ethernet was the most efficient and cost-effective way to unsnarl Amalgamated Banks traffic jam. Besides a tenfold speed boost, a Gigabit Ethernet system could utilize the banks existing copper cabling, as well as fiber-optic cable.

"As a financial institution, Amalgamated had several key areas of concern," says Rino Bratelli, major account manager for Dimension Data. "The most important was redundancy. A banking institution cant afford the risk of being down even for a short period. They also were concerned with scalability, security, management and compatibility with their existing systems and software."

Dimension Data began what Bratelli calls a "forklift upgrade" of the banks LAN by replacing its legacy equipment with Cisco Catalyst Gigabit Ethernet equipment.

"The design included redundancy not only in the core, but also in the IDF [Intermediate Data Frame] closets," explains Dimension Data project manager Steve Iglio. "We put in two Cisco Catalyst 6500s configured with HSRP [Hot Standby Routing Protocol], dual power supplies, and dual MSFC [Multilayer Switch Feature Card] modules. Each of the 10 IDF closets has a 4000 series Catalyst with redundant power supplies. They also added dual-homed Gigabit connections from the IDF to the MDF [Main Data Frame]."

Iglio notes that the biggest challenge was "how to integrate the network seamlessly into their current architecture with minimal downtime and outages to their user community." That challenge was met via a phased approach, which included using core 6500s and interconnecting them to the banks legacy core. "Then we implemented all the 4000 series into the IDFs. Each night we converted one IDF closet," adds Iglio.


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